Kerry 0-11 Mayo 1-10: terrific in Tralee

Going into tonight’s match against Kerry in Tralee, it was pretty obvious that we would have to have to put in a much improved display if we were going to have any hopes of getting a result. That’s exactly what we did, as the lads – attired in their snazzy new deep blue away jerseys – fought like demons from first ‘till last, coming away with a wholly deserved two-point win, a result that extends our unbeaten run on Kerry soil to a whole decade.

Both teams lined out tonight in the dreadful weather as selected. Kerry won the toss and opted to play with the strong wind at their backs in the opening half.

We started well. Kevin McLoughlin’s shot turned on the wind at the last second and went over, with the ref signalling the point after the umpire had called it wide. Soon after Matthew Ruane galloped straight down the middle of the Kerry defence without a glove being laid on him and popped it over. Then Jason Doherty drove forward, checked back and fired it over off his left.

Kerry had to work hard for their first score. The Mayo backline kept them pinned back outside the ’45 but eventually Kerry punched through, with Paul Murphy feeding the in-rushing Sean O’Shea who belted it over. 

Five minutes passed before the next score came. We missed a chance to extend our lead before this when a Jason Doherty free into the wind off the ground came up short. Sean O’Shea made no mistake with a placed ball at the other end, following a high challenge by Brendan Harrison on Tommy Walsh.

Kerry were showing signs of wastefulness, though, with Dara Moynihan and Tommy Walsh, from a forward mark, shooting wide.

Michael Plunkett put a weak effort wide but from the restart we scored, with Aidan O’Shea feeding Donal Vaughan who drove forward before transferring to Kevin McLoughlin. The Knockmore man encountered the Kerry cover whereupon he booted it very high and over the bar.

At the other end, Kevin McCarthy gave Chris Barrett the slip and pointed from out on the wing. Soon after Tommy Walsh combined with Sean O’Shea, feeding the youngster who fired it over off his left to level the game up.

Five minutes more elapsed before the next score. An effort from Conor Loftus just didn’t have the distance and in the next attack a long ball in was claimed for the forward mark by Tommy Walsh who drove it over to give Kerry the lead for the first time.

The rain was bucketing down now, the driving wind adding to the difficulty of the conditions. Fionn McDonagh looked to have been fouled but the ball was turned over and it ended up with a free for them in a scoreable position. O’Shea duly obliged and from the next play McCarthy pointed to put three between the teams.

We probed patiently as Kerry sat back and soaked up the pressure. We never got within range, though, before the whistle sounded for half-time, the teams getting a small respite from the tempest with Kerry three to the good.

We were off the mark first on the resumption, with Jason Doherty scoring a point with ease from a thirty-yard free. Doc was just short with his next – a fifty – with Mattie Ruane picking up a knock in the move that led to it.

Jason’s next placed ball effort – from the same distance – also ended up in the ‘keeper’s hands, the free coming for a foul on Mattie Ruane. As the exchanges began to get a bit ragged, our next effort, from distance, was hacked wide by Mattie.

With twenty minutes left to go we made our first switch, Fergal Boland coming on for Conor Loftus. It was a Kerry sub – the other Diarmuid O’Connor – who got their first point of the half but Fionn McDonagh, fed by Fergal Boland, responded immediately for us. Aidan then won the restart, got fouled and Jason pumped the free over.

Once again, Kerry came unstuck as they tried to work the ball up the field. We turned it over and a quick attack yielded the equaliser, Fergal Boland with the fist getting this one.

We continued to press. Fionn McDonagh was bundled over as he tried to claim possession and Jason obliged from the placed ball to put us one up. Andy Moran – so often a Kerry tormentor – joined the proceedings then, James Durcan giving way.

Two bad wides followed, both from Ballintubber men. Michael Plunkett miscued from distance after the ball had been recycled and then soon after Diarmuid O’Connor skied a free wide from out on the wing after he’d been dragged down.

Kerry came looking for the equaliser, a shot at the posts blocked down by Chris Barrett and out for a fifty. Sean O’Shea drove it over impressively into the teeth of the wind.  As he did so Lee Keegan came on for Donie.

We broke again, Mattie Ruane pushed sideways by his marker as he got his shot away. Jason popped over the resultant close-in free.

Kerry’s next attack broke down and when we countered we did so with effect. Kevin McLoughlin picked out the charging Mattie Ruane with an audacious forty-yard pass and the Breaffy man showed admirable coolness as he bore down on goal, slipping it past the ‘keeper on the near side to the net.

Colm Boyle then came on for Michael Plunkett. Kerry sub James O’Donoghue was fouled close to goal at our end, David Clarke getting injured in the process. After a long delay, Robbie Hennelly came on for David in goals and Sean O’Shea pointed the free to cut the gap to three as the match went into injury time, all six minutes of it.

Half of that time was played when sub James O’Donoghue grabbed possession off a free that Robbie had punched clear. He fired it over.

Kerry built again, as we swarmed around them forcing them to battle for every inch gained. Eventually they won a free fifty yards out, but O’Shea’s effort to cut the gap to the minimum floated wide. From Robbie’s booming restart we claimed possession and then proceeded to play keep-ball until Niall Cullen blew the final whistle.

This was a cracking win, all the more so because it wasn’t, in truth, expected. It was a win that owed everything to the incredibly hard-working display the lads put in, harrying and hounding their opponents from start to finish. This was particularly important when playing against the wind in the first half, all throughout which they showed admirable restraint and discipline in the tackle. This meant Kerry were denied the scores that in retrospect they really needed to build up before the break.

With the wind behind us in the second half our workrate, allied with greater experience and a much heartier appetite for the extremely difficult conditions, meant that Kerry had to battle hard to get up the field at all, let alone score. We bossed them pretty comprehensively in that second half and when the decisive goal came there was little real surprise that it had happened. It was, though, a delightful score and fair play to Mattie for bagging it, securing the win in the process.

So any gnawing fears we might have had beforehand about relegation – which were eradicated ahead of throw-in with Roscommon’s defeat to Galway – have now been replaced by thoughts about a possible League final appearance. The odds still favour Kerry and Galway in that race – if Kerry beat Roscommon and Galway beat Tyrone in Round 7 they’ll meet in the final – but all we can do is look to get a result against Monaghan and take it from there.

Going into this League campaign, our aim was to give plenty of game time to new players and do what we could to retain our top tier status. With a round left to play, James Horan has already achieved that and more, making this spring campaign a definite success. Added to that, tonight’s win over quality opposition provides a hint, perhaps, of the direction we’re now travelling in as we head towards summer.      

Mayo: David Clarke; Chris Barret, Brendan Harrison, Keith Higgins; Stephen Coen, Michael Plunkett, Donal Vaughan; Matthew Ruane (1-1), Aidan O’Shea; Fionn McDonagh (0-1), Conor Loftus, Diarmuid O’Connor; Kevin McLoughlin (0-2), Jason Doherty (0-5, four frees), James Durcan. Subs: Fergal Boland (0-1) for Loftus, Andy Moran for Durcan, Lee Keegan for Vaughan, Colm Boyle for Plunkett, Robbie Hennelly for Clarke.

Who was our MOTM against Kerry? Pick your top three performers

  • Aidan O'Shea (40%, 726 Votes)
  • Matthew Ruane (30%, 544 Votes)
  • Kevin McLoughlin (11%, 198 Votes)
  • Jason Doherty (4%, 78 Votes)
  • Diarmuid O'Connor (3%, 50 Votes)
  • Fionn McDonagh (2%, 44 Votes)
  • Donal Vaughan (2%, 39 Votes)
  • Michael Plunkett (1%, 27 Votes)
  • Fergal Boland (1%, 26 Votes)
  • Chris Barrett (1%, 24 Votes)
  • Brendan Harrison (1%, 16 Votes)
  • Stephen Coen (1%, 13 Votes)
  • David Clarke (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Robbie Hennelly (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Keith Higgins (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Conor Loftus (0%, 9 Votes)
  • James Durcan (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Lee Keegan (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Andy Moran (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Colm Boyle (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,049

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65 thoughts on “Kerry 0-11 Mayo 1-10: terrific in Tralee

  1. AOS’s best position? Nowhere…..anywhere….everywhere.

    McLoughlin good and Ruane looking the part.

    We need Galway to drop points away to Tyrone otherwise they make the final.

    Why did Loftus not take a few frees?

    Plunkett solid.

  2. Massive win, fantastic performance.

    AOS was class, Ruane was also excellent, took goal exceptionally well.

    1-15 and subs did very well.

    And it’s always mighty to beat Kerry.

  3. I was looking for a performance tonight and the lads delviered that in spades. It was also enough to take the two points so I have to say it’s a welcome lift.

    Aidan O’Shea was just immense and dominated the game. He didn’t take too much out of it and was just everywhere at times. His club mate was also hugely influential and really does look every inch an inter county footballer.

    I thought McDonagh was again really positive and returned to form tonight. McLoughlin is a class act and I’m convinced that we always play well when he’s on form.

    This might be a bit controversial but I don’t want us going into a league final. Keep the powder dry.

  4. If you can beat a kerry team in kerry then the aren’t too many teams you cannot beat.

    Mattie Ruane is the best find of the last few years. He’s growing every match. A really exciting player.

    I’m happily eating my hat after predicting that I couldn’t see us winning tonight. Yum yum yum.

  5. Super hard working performance from Mayo tonight! Managed the game really well and Aido and Ruane both stand-out performers…

  6. A few very good performances there, Aido, Matty and Kevin my top three in that order mind.
    Thought Chrissy and Jason were excellent throughout, and D O’C was very good too. Nice to see James Horan making the right calls when they were needed, though perhaps 2 substitutions could have come sooner.
    We perhaps got the rub of the green with the number of poor shots and wides Kerry had in the first half but let’s face it, we’re usually guilty of that ourselves.
    Atrocious conditions for Football and well done to all who travelled, ye certainly made yourselves heard.

    Anyways, on to Monaghan next week. We may need Tyrone to do us a favour and if they don’t, we need Kerry to lose in order for us to still have a chance to make the Final.
    If we draw with Monaghan, we are depending on Tyrone to beat Galway.

    So in brief:
    We lose to Monaghan, then it makes no odds, Galway would qualify ahead of us, though Tyrone could qualify if they beat Galway.
    Galway beat Tyrone, then our result against Monaghan makes no odds and its a Galway Kerry Final.
    If Galway draw with Tyrone, we need to beat Monaghan to qualify.
    If Galway lose to Tyrone, we need to draw with or beat Monaghan to qualify. If we draw, we finish ahead of Tyrone by virtue of the head to head.
    If Kerry lose, and Mayo and Galway both win, if goes down to points difference. Ironically that scenario could end up leaving it as Mayo/Galway league final and Kerry in third spot in the table, but I’d say the odds on that would be very long indeed.

  7. Well it’s Mayo after all and when a performance is needed they more often than not deliver and they sure did that tonight. I was just hoping for a better performance after the Galway game. A draw would have been great but a win over Kerry, the most form team of the league, in Kerry on a bank holiday wknd is pretty sweet. Happy days. Maigheo Abu

  8. The boys in blue might be in HQ for the League final yet. These boys will have Mayo accents and a point to prove.

  9. Great win and a very good sign of how we are progressing under James. It now appears that the Dublin and Galway games came at a stage in our development when we were trying to tweak some things and maybe lacked sharpness as we tried to get the balance right. Tonight there was no answer to the physicality or the sharp tackling which was pleasing. We still need to work on our forward play but that will come. Making the league final would be seen as a bonus by some but I’m not so sure. If we win it there’s a target on our backs for the championship and if we lose another final it could set us back in terms of confidence. I’d prefer going into the championship under the radar after a pleasing league campaign but with teams still not fully sure about us. I definitely don’t want us to meet Galway again – they know too much about us as it is!

  10. Great to win and really looked like they were going to win once we got ahead in 2nd half. AOS and MR were superb. Fair play to the Mayo supporters… you came across loud and clear and often during the game…you are amazing. Thank you and well done to our team.

  11. Ah! It’s always nice to beat Kerry.
    But tonight was more about rediscovering the spark which we lacked against the dubs and Galway. We are at our best when we are fit and totally committed to the battle. And tonight we were. I thought Fergal Boland epitomised this on a few occasions when he showed no consideration for life or limb in his attempts to contest possession.
    Agree with others about AOS – he was excellent. He combined physical dominance with really intelligent play and his work rate was outstanding. McLoughlin is one of the most underestimated players ever. I thought Michael Plunkett and Fionn McDonagh did well and Ruane was top class.
    I’m afraid Conor Loftus didn’t impress. He showed he has the skills but seems to lack that hard competitive edge which is a real pity. And James Durkan seemed off form.
    I have to say I was very disappointed after the Dublin game and I was convinced that the future was bleak for us. Tonight I just wonder what we might be capable of. I’m not that interested in getting to a league final other than it offers us an extra game to try out new players.
    Well done lads!

  12. P.S. I thought Donal Vaughan looked very good and assured tonight in the opening 15 minutes or so.
    To follow up on a comment on the blog after the Galway game that suggested we didn’t have kick passers capable of making delicate and accurate passes to set up scores, I think we can add Kevin Mc and Fergal Boland to Conor Loftus, as pointed out then by Catcol, as having that skill. That’s at least three.
    That is all : )
    Have a lovely evening, everyone.

  13. Just back in the hotel starting to defrost after that Fantastic Pride Ridden display from Mayo. Im still glowing from this win over the Leagues Best this year makes you think why we cant play like this every game!
    Kevin Mc was immense tonight showed for everything and tore into the kerry backs. AOS was terrific really bossed the midfield in the second half and Mattie Ruane is growing into a Mayo Stalwart.
    Plunkett was great and Coen got stuck in at the back as for Vaughan like a Man reborn brilliant performance. We could have taken more goal chances in the game Vaughan was through on goal and also Mattie Ruane st an earlier stage.
    I called for Pride last week well i tell you im very proud of that performance from these Warriors young and old alike. Its a shame we didnt have
    this display in the second half against Galway.
    Jason took his frees well in the second half even though the wind seemed to slacken off.
    I think AOS now must stick at midfield his distribution tonight especially in second half was magical. Diarmuid O Connor lead by example continually driving at the Kerry defence his work rate was immense.
    This was an important win tonight we stood up to Kerry id say the half time talk by JH really pumped up the guys.
    Lets drive on now against Monaghan next week with other results going our way why not for once get to a League Final and Win it. Lets show the GAA world we will never lye down we will never give up.
    We are MAYO.

  14. Unlike some people including yourself Willy joe ,I was not despondent after the Dublin game. There is great spirit in this mayo team and tonight they showed it. Well done Aidan and thank you for remembering Tom freeman. Another good man rip

  15. It’s ten years since Kerry beat us at home. I remember when even the sight of the green and gold jerseys would have struck terror in my heart!!! But why do we still find it almost impossible to beat the kingdom in Machale park?
    Anyway, well done Mayo and James Horan. But let’s not start dreaming just yet that this will be our year. I think Monaghan will prove a sterner test next weekend.

  16. Well done Mayo, a good & well deserved win in Tralee . This was a good contest in rough weather conditions . As a Kerryman , I always look forward to Kerry V Mayo games . The atmosphere is always great as is the football. The Mayo supporters are always in good spirits no matter what the result . Because of my family connections & many friends up west Mayo is my second Favourite County. James Horan has the team in a very good place , it Could be a Kerry V Mayo All Ireland this year . Best of luck to both teams in the year ahead . Eamon .

  17. Well done, Mayo, and well deserved. Aido, Ruane, and McLoughlin immense. Keith also did v. well. You get the feeling Kerry are so obsessed with stopping Dublin’s “drive for five” that they are believing their own hype. Midfield non-existent, and still a glaring lack of pace. We’ll have it all to do v Tyrone. However, we’re now playing a more front foot game, so we’re hopeful. Depending on weather conditions, Ros. could beat Kerry. Although on balance, you’d now have to fancy a Mayo v Kerry final..

  18. Like i said a month ago Fergal Boland’s passing a inside forward delight. Class act, If Hennelly was on at start of 2nd half.Game would have over 15 min in….3 frees which he would have converted…. Am sure Horan will have learned from tonight.

  19. Said it before and I will say it again Aidos best position is a holding defensive Midfielder.
    Great win lads!!

  20. Terrific performance tonight. Well done Mayo – they fought like men possessed right from the get go. Exactly the response we were all looking for after that poor performance against Galway.

  21. Fantastic win Have to admit I was well wrong as I expected Kerry victory. Having said that I didn’t buy in to all the doom and gloom after the Galway game Some posters here thought we were the worst team ever after that game. We weren’t and now we are not the best team ever after this. What we are is a really honest committed team who always give 100%.By the way they also gave their best v Galway but it just didn’t work out that night. It worked for us tonight so well done Mayo on an excellent win.

  22. Aiden is some player, after all the abuse he gets still calm and able to control game, great win and great squad of young players, credit to each and every one of them.

  23. Great win… Once again,fair play to the best supporter’s that ever supported a Gaelic football team in the history of the GAA… I wasn’t there tonight and didn’t even see it live due to circumstances…. But seen delayed TV coverage, … I’m there most of the time and will be again versus Monaghan… Best team won, no doubt. AOS magnificent 70 min+ performance, his Club Mate Mathew Ruane, take a bow fantastic, and what can we say about Kevin McLoughlin? Surely it has to be the most underrated Player (by the national Media) in this Mayo team, ..Jason Doc, a warrior if ever there was one!…. anyhow thanks again to those magnificent Mayo supporter’s who travelled to Tralee, rotten weather for both teams and both sets of supporter’s, ….If ye are staying in Tralee, hope ye have a great night, and if travelling home, Safe Journey… Happy St Patrick’s Day to everyone!

  24. Good win.
    if we get to a league final we should absolutely embrace it as a great opportunity for some of the younger players.
    There is no more radar with Mayo, it’s confidence we need, from winning in croke park. Bring it on is what I say.
    I’d say bit by bit James is getting closer to knowing his summer panel. A league final at HQ could only be a positive in this regard.

  25. Once again the same people that give out stink when a couple of results do not go our way are back singing praise….and I’m not just on about this blog!

    Our county is a very good footballing team….We have had a great start to the league a poor middle but we’re back again! I want to ask every supporter to trust in James! For the last couple of weeks he has taken lads who we all thought were not part of his plans and throwin them in! It’s no harm! I told not think we would see loftus or Boland again, or Durcan and Coen 2 weeks ago! He’s building! Great score by Boland when he came on! Also I’m delighted to see Jason gibbons back in the fold. A great midfielder for the tubber and I think he is always an addition. Keep the faith lads and lassies

  26. This site is crazy sometimes! Hyperbole when we win! Hyperbole when we lose! A good performance today with experience showing. We got the tactics right and put Kerry under serious pressure all the way through. Matthew Ruane must have three lungs. Aido massive performance. Donie Vaughan was very good. Hopefully Tyrone get a result against Galway in the puke football cup final!

  27. A surprising win, but a win nonetheless.
    I’m still very concerned about our midfield and full back line for the summer. Can’t expect Aidan O’Shea to be everywhere all the time.

  28. Like Revellino just tucked into my hat for breakfast and delighted to eat it. This Mayo team never ceases to amaze and I will never doubt them again. Roll on the championship!

  29. Watched it on the TV and I have to say, what struck me in the minutes silence, was how trim Aido looked. He looks to have gotten himself into incredible shape. Then to see him bully Tommy Walsh at the throw in, he wasn’t going to take a step back, and boy what a performance and shift he put in, imperious. It was a fabulous performance all round, our defensive shape in the first half especially, was very good. I’d have liked us to be more comfortable in the second half, but the conditions ensured it was always going to be a scrappy affair. With one game remaining we have to be very happy with where we are at overall. For the most part the lads have moved well over heavy ground and I can’t wait to see Mattie, Diarmuid, and Fionn on harder tracks in the summer. Kevin, Donie, Aido, Keith, & Chrissy all look to be moving well also and I think already we look a different team when plunkett plays, he’s nailed on for me. It all bodes well and to finish with a win at home against Monaghan would be a welcome bonus, and if that throws up a league final, sure we may as well go all out and play our first choice 15, which JH must be very close to knowing now. All gravy from here as far as I’m concerned! Well done lads, keep her lit!

  30. Good win , nothing extraordinary about it . Kerry were not at the same level as they were for the Dublin game , whether that’s down to a training programme or whatever I’m not sure but definitely not the same . Aido was fantastic , really showed well right from throw in as he tussled with Tommy Walsh . Ruane wasn’t far behind I’d give him a 7.5 out of 10 , good burst shown for the goal too. Fionn played well again , lovely point from a tight angle in second half. Jason doc was very good albeit a couple of missed frees (conditions have to factored in though ) Kevin Mac brilliant such a massive players for us. I thought Vaughan did very well in the first half . James Durcan disappointing , conor loftus disappointing also but them conditions are just not going to suit a player like conor . Light silky footballers, dry summers day like Newbridge last year they are a different animal , no amount of bullshit modern terminology about s&c will tell me otherwise .

  31. Over the moon with that unexpected win, well done to all the lads and management, a very successful league….8 points and a couple of new recruits bedding in well. Coybib !!!!

  32. A wet, wild night, but very enjoyable and the pints weren’t bad either.
    Mattie Ruane has been Mayo’s player of rhe league. i thought we’d be seriously weak in midfield without Parsons, and SOS being another year older, but Ruane has been fantastic. Very athletic, and his composure is so impressive.
    i didnt know where the scores were going to come from with that full forward line but McLoughlin always got himself into.the right position, giving options for the ball carrier and we eventually got the opportunities (although our shooting wasnt great, particularly start of 2ns half).
    Plunkett distributes the ball v well, wouldn’t mind the wides too much, contributes a lot more than that.
    Glass back to half full!

  33. Happy St Patricks day WJ and to all here on the Mayo Gaa blog and your families.

    What is very pleasing is that after a couple of tough league defeats, there was no lack of confidence or desire from the team in Kerry last night. James Horan was also upbeat when interviewed before the match. It was also evident that last game displays are no indication what this team is liable to go out and do in their next match. Last night was a big big improvement on the previous 2 displays. A great boost for everyone.

    Good luck to St Thomas’s and to Corofin later today. It’s fair going to have 2 clubs from the same county battling it out for both the hurling and football club titles on the same day.

  34. 39 posts on the match after beating a 1/4 Kerry team in Tralee????? It’s mighty to shut the clowns up for a few days.
    Happy St Patrick’s day to one and all.
    P.S. the new jersey is class

  35. Doom mongers back in their box for a few weeks, check. Big intensity for 70+, check. Patient play and removed most of silly wides and poor shot selection from recent weeks, check.
    Plenty to improve upon including frees but I’m fairly happy.
    I’m on the let’s make league final side of things as winning builds confidence and even a loss in a league final isn’t a big deal so long as it’s not a trimming.

  36. One qualification though is that Kerry were well off and their midfield was badly beaten. Having said that, have to look at our performance.. our application was excellent and we’d have beaten them more if ref didn’t give several 50 50 frees to them when we swamped their players. Kevin Mc very much to the fore in tackling and excellent as a forward too. Worth a lot to Mayo having that lad on the pitch.
    We must have set a record for how many times we turned them over.

  37. Good win but would agree Kerry were a few % off their better league form.
    Chris Barrett good, strong tackling and a brave block.
    Brendan Harrison, solid, was in a few physical tussles which I think sapped his energy.
    Keith Higgins, one his most well balanced performances. Defensively sound and helped the ball out of defence with bursts or passes.
    Stephen Coen, our best defender in the first half, bear in mind we have no player bar maybe Aidan who can mark Tommy Walsh from the front .Replaced with no offensive mark Coen was doing fine. He tidied up ball and kickpasses well. Composed and disciplined.
    Michael Plunkett, I’d be shocked if he also wasn’t a good libero type soccer player. He’s the most composed half back we’ve had since James Nallen. With his two sidedness he can disguise his intention for his pass, when he gets closed down he can quickly get out of trouble. He is still an U24, I’m genuinely really excited about Michael Plunkett being Mayo’s no. 6 for the next 6/7 years potentially.
    Donal Vaughan, his best game to date. Very good carrying the ball in the first half. Crucially did not lose ball, get stuck in traffic or get caught for overcarrying.
    Matthew Ruane, his best performance to date. Confidence and composure is really starting to come into his game. Bear in mind he’ll be a bit further down the track gym wise come the hard ground in summer. When he has his solo fully tidied up and his strength/bodyweight on a few more % yer talking about a serious footballer in midfield.
    Aidan OShea, the big one for me with Aidan, the bounce in his legs, his speed from a standing start, his top gear when into his stride. I’ve genuinely never seen Aidan so athletic in terms of simple stopwatch sprinting, agility and repeated sprints stamina. Extremely encouraging. He was getting up into the air springy in the second half. Midfield and back covering with the odd burst forward is his perfect role.
    Fionn McDonagh, solid enough performance with a good point.
    Conor Loftus, the one spark he showed was a noticeable burst of speed on two occasions and improved body strength. A few % on in fitness on the hard ground he might lift up a level.
    Diarmuid O’Connor, probably he is better at midfield, but he played 12 to accommodate the Ruane O’Shea partnership. Good performance from Diarmuid. He’s noticeably strong now, some big hooshing contacts without losing the ball.
    James Durcan, a bit worried on his composure for this level when now an u25.
    Jason Doherty, Jason has had a great league. He plays that role of coming out to win ball, standup his man and get a free or make a pass. Jason is the definition of wiry strong, built like a career steel fixer 🙂 Never dipped below 7/10 All the league.
    Kevin McLoughlin, back fit after his break playing great football. Excited to see him in the forward line with Cillian also. Think those two together can really make us tick upfront.
    Subs, Fergal Boland did really well. I think he is best suited as a sub. The fast paced start of the game doesn’t suit him.
    Robbie Hennelly had a great high ball intervention.
    Lee and Colm Boyle not really involved.

  38. Was delighted to see Jason Gibbons on the field during their kick-about an hour before the game yesterday and a real positive to see him named among the subs. We need midfield reinforcements on our bench with the physicality and athleticism that Jason brings. I hope Horan keeps him on the panel for the championship.

  39. What is the word on Cillian.
    When is he back.
    If we could get a top drawer year from him it would be a welcome boost

  40. For once we showed the smarts needed to win difficult games as regards playing with and against the wind, playing the ref and playing the clock.
    Aido was certainly tuned in for this one right from the start when he was throwing Walsh around the place before the throw in! Ruane growing with every game. I thought Vaughan was excellent in the first half in being an outlet for Clarkes kicks into the wind and also carrying ball forward in difficult conditions. By my count he assisted 2 or 3 scores by bursting forward and offloading at the right time.
    Horan called it right in dropping Keegan and Boyle as both have been very poor this league and didn’t deserve starts ahead of Plunkett or Coen.
    Next game. Next game. See where that takes us.

  41. – Sure it’s only the league and neither team needed to win but make no mistake about it Kerry wanted to win this. The tackling was very hard at times.
    – Agree with most of JP’s analysis above except with regards to James Durkan who fumbled every ball and Loftus whose tackling was half hearted. Both were given a fair chance and neither took it.
    – Looking at the collective team rather than indivuduals, we need more consistency in frees which COC will sort out when he returns.
    – We are also getting a lot of possession but not reflecting it on the scoreboard which is really the only place it counts. This has to be sorted.
    – Pitch in great condition, the wind was not nearly as bad as our other games and nice to see the team cheered as they came into the team hotel lobby afterwards.
    – Gregor Townsend’s half time team talk should be cloned as how they came back to draw with England was unreal. It goes to show that sport is as much about attitude as ability.

  42. Good summary JP. I’d just add that I like Diarmuid in the full forward role because he is our most mobile player to track opposition defenders the full length of the field.. can contribute quickly to the defensive set up.. is a good outlet man when the ball breaks up.. and can get back into his position in full forwards quicker than any other player. He can gost into space like no other and if the right ball goes in.. he’s a damn fine fielder. He just reads the game so well and so I think we should give him time in this role as he has a bit to learn yet

  43. Once we get the physicality and intensity right, we will put it up to any team. The team yesterday was selected to try and win the middle third battle, and in that, we were very successful.
    Regarding the next day, I think that this is a great game to have as Monaghan (probably the second best team last year) need to get something out of the game to be sure of staying up. We were expected to beat the Rossies and Cavan, Tyrone was a bonus and would likely be a different game next week as they were off the pace. Yesterday was another pleasant surprise, win next week would make up for the Galway performance in particular and give me more confidence going into the summer.
    This is all we can control, there us nothing we can do about other matches, should be a good crowd as Monaghan travel in good numbers. Will be interesting to see team selection, but hope (and expect) that we continue to see newer players get another chance to shine. Onwards and upwards!

  44. The reason l and others have been calling for AOS to be used as a defensive midfielder is simply because he is such a big unit and is not suited to chasing after players. He gets tired quickly at this. What his strengths are is fielding and defending and not just your typical defending. He’s like a road block down the centre.. forwards concentrate all their efforts to get around him and that’s when they run into traffic and get held up.. and if Aido can get a paw on them at all.. he will get the ball. It also affords him time to catch a breath back there.. because he has fantastic stamina but he needs time to take in oxygen to use it. This is why in my mind he gets into the game easier from this position and by the end of the game you wouldn’t know where you would find him turning up. Really liking the balance of the team right now

  45. I would put Fergal Boland and Fionn Mc Donagh well ahead of Conor Loftus Evan Regan and James Durcan. Boland is a very intelligent footballer I hope he starts against Monaghan and gets a chance in the championship too as we saw last night he can take a score and kick pass.

  46. Fergal Boland has composure about him and the skill which in my opinion comes from the small ball game.

    Conor Loftus has quality and conditions may not have suited him last night. His willingness to take on his man shows that he is adapting physically to inter county football at the top level.

  47. Good to see Horan set the team up properly to defend.

    AOS much more effective in deeper role.

    Still have problems upfront though some fellas not taking shots on and the ball getting turned over.

    vaughan looking leggy don’t think he’ll have enough pace for championship
    couldn’t keep up to one of the Kerry lads down the sideline.

  48. Boland was very useful when introduced alright. As others have said, he’s an intelligent player. Was glad to see Loftus get a start I thought he did ok and was unlucky his shot in 1st half dropped short. He has something in him, a certain calibre, it’s just about him getting it out. You’d love to see him be a big angrier a d show bite and tenacity. Unfortunately j Durcan was fairly anonymous. In my opinion, having watched closely this year and last, I’ve not seen enough from him to suggest he’d be near a starting role.

    McD has exactly what Loftus needs, hunger and exuberance. He’s brash and not afraid to get stuck in. Just needs to tidy up his shooting.

    Ruane has an engine. When we won the 21 All Ireland he was pivotal, particularly against Dublin and Cork. He was good at those offensive bursts and chipping in with a score. I’ve been waiting a few years, hoping to see him replicate that level of influence at senior intercounty level. Last night was a glimpse of what he can offer. Let’s hope he continues to develop and improve.

    Diarmuid, needs to be more central. Either midfield or 11. Not 12!!!!

    Plunkett was steady again. Should have scored.

    Any update on David Clarke?

  49. @centrefield

    Was that after Vaughan broke a Kerry kickout, burst through the middle and laid on a score for McLoughlin? Hard to keep pace with a man after running the length of the pitch.

  50. JH is now putting his stamp on this team, and what also impressed me was the introduction of Keegan and Boyle as subs. – fair dalop of talent there. Corofin and Thomas’ up next.. Must say Mayo people have been generous with their support – much appreciated. Anyway, Anon! And last person out, turn off the lights!!

  51. I take it that the mayo retro Jersey won’t be going on sale like willie Joe I am colour blind on the other hand ?? thank god for AOS will cillian be back for the next game and happy St patrick’s day everyone

  52. Total admiration to all the supporters who traveled and braved the conditions. Best fans around. I already knew the result — vacation travel — so watching the game afterward was a lot less stressful. Thrilled with where we are. Been rooting for Plunkett and yesterday was another +. Kid does so many subtle things that add up. If he converted those two attempts……

    Can’t wait for next week to see the lineup. Might as well win!

  53. It’s a bit early to be waffling about September as its far too early for such hype. Great performance in atrocious conditions and a great team effort from a seriously resilient group of players.

  54. Still here in Kerry and thawed out finally. Great performance by our lads last night in sometimes brutal conditions. The inlaws were gracious in defeat. One of my favourite moments from the game was the collective ‘oh’ groan from the green and gold supporters when Lee Keegan was announced entering the mix. It’s great to have men to come on and instil a small taste of fear in the opposition. We did fling away a few opportunities to tack on points and I thought they would cost us in the end. Kevin mc s deft pass to Ruane was a thing of beauty to watch. As said already he really has never been given the accolade he deserves as one of the best footballing brains in the country. Great to see up to 4 possible teams in the mix now for the league final . Maybe football isn’t just blue for this year anyways.

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