Mayo 2-13 Armagh 1-15: falling over the line

My poor heart.

Well, we won and this gets us into the Monday morning hat once again, where we’ll be drawn against one of Cavan, Cork, Galway or Meath in next weekend’s Round 4 of the qualifiers. But, boy, did we make hard work of it, collapsing over the line at the finish to win by a single point.

And now for the bad news, though how bad we don’t yet know. Our horrendous injury run this year was further compounded shortly before half-time this evening when Lee Keegan went down and limped, in what looked like considerable pain, from the field. The extent of the injury – that appears to be ankle related – hasn’t yet been confirmed but it didn’t look good.

To make matters worse, Jason Doherty hobbled off near the end with what also seemed to be an ankle problem. Again, there’s no confirmation as yet about how he is and whether or not he’ll be available the next day.  

Under James Horan we don’t usually go for wholesale changes from the team we name in advance but this evening was an exception. Armagh fielded the team they’d named but we made four changes. Colm Boyle, Ciaran Treacy, Jason Doherty and Darren Coen all started in place of Michael Plunkett, Donal Vaughan, Kevin McLoughlin and Fergal Boland respectively.

We got the evening’s opening score, with Conor Loftus banging a free high over the bar after Andy Moran had been fouled. But they quickly hit back with Grugan popping it over at the other end.

In their next attack, though, Armagh carved us open with alarming ease. Jamie Clarke slipped the cover and lifted the ball in for Rian O’Neill to palm to the net.

We responded perfectly, however, with Fionn McDonagh lashing the ball to the net. It was a move that saw Andy initially played in and although he fumbled the ball he recovered well and fed the young Westport man who finished emphatically.

Armagh hit back, an O’Neill free and an effort from play from Grugan putting them two ahead. But we again replied in kind, a second free by Conor – which was brought up after some messing by Armagh – and a real trademark belter from Fionn pulling us level again.

Riann O’Neill was very prominent in these opening exchanges, with Brendan Harrison labouring to keep tabs on him. A trip on him by Brendan yielded a free from which Jamie Clarke pointed. Lee Keegan then trotted over to mark the Armagh full-forward.

A swift downfield move, with Keith Higgins delivering a great, long handpass into Darren Coen, resulted in our next score, the Hollymount/Carramore man swinging in over. But they reclaimed the lead soon after, Campbell banging it over.

We kicked three bad wides in succession as we failed to get back on terms. Then came our first switch, with Kevin McLoughlin coming on for Andy Moran. We wouldn’t have been contemplating a second change after that but were forced into it, when Lee Keegan collapsed to the turf and was forced to go off. Stephen Coen came on for the luckless Westport player.

This latest injury setback appeared to goad the lads into action. Jason Doherty drilled over a great score from distance and Paddy Durcan followed it up with another soon after, edging us back in front. We took that one-point lead into the break.

Two Jamie Clarke points – the first a free, the second a wonder score off his left – put the Orchard County back in front on the resumption. They had a chance to extend their lead but Campbell booted it wide. And then a misty rain began to fall, making the underfoot conditions greasy and more than a little tricky.

Kevin McLoughlin gathered the ball that Darren Coen had threaded through to him from a free and he belted it over. Then Darren, off his left, knocked a beauty over to level it up again.

The sun came out, illuminating brightly the verdant playing surface. We looked like we were seeing the light too, with Stephen Coen feeding his namesake, Darren firing over another great score.

Niall Grimley, from a long way, out, took aim and landed a lovely point to the delight of the large Armagh following but a bigger roar reverberated around MacHale Park as Cillian O’Connor made his long-awaited reappearance, replacing Conor Loftus.

Donal Vaughan barrelled forward and scooped the ball over the bar with his left. Then Kevin McLoughlin took possession at speed out the field and hit for goal, only one thing on his mind. His shot was one of precision rather than power, the net shook and we were now firmly in control of this contest.

Jason Doherty’s injury occurred then, Fergal Boland replacing him. But we kept pouring forward, Darren Coen shooting from an outrageous angle to stretch our lead to five.

We were now in full control and all we had to do was see out the win in calm and measured fashion. But, of course, that’s not what we do and so back at us came Armagh as we allowed a comfortable win to slip from our grasp.

Jamie Clarke nearly goaled but David Clarke got enough on what was a weak enough effort to avert the danger. But Clarke fired over soon after to cut the gap back to four.

We coughed up another goal chance. This time David Clarke was left defenceless but forced Grugan wide as he went to round him. The Armagh man couldn’t keep his shot down and so the ball flew over the bar rather than into the unguarded net.

Two points by Campbell brought this contest to boiling point. Five minutes to go, we were now just a point up and flailing badly. Armagh sensed victory then, for sure.

But we steadied it. We won a free 50 yards out on the touchline but then Shields idiotically hauled down Kevin McLoughlin in front of the posts thirty yards out and the free was moved up. It was as close to a gimme as you’ll get and Cillian marked his return by thumping it over.

Time was almost up when Kevin McLoughlin was dragged down and Cillian duly obliged a second time. Surely we’d now see it out?

Those four minutes of injury time seemed to last an eternity. We got caught in possession at the back, we seemed unable to work the ball any distance up the field and, once again, Armagh sensed the mounting panic in our rearguard.

They got two points, one a free, in injury time but then, having won a free from a restart thumped long, Grimley played a give and go and then let fly from well over fifty yards out. The ball sailed wide and the final whistle sounded.

We’d done it, but only just and after a performance that became more chaotic and panic-ridden the longer it went on. One more slip from us near the end and this would have been a story of our defeat. We dodged the bullet by millimetres at MacHale Park tonight.

But dodge it we did, even if the blows continue to rein down on us on the injury front. Still, we got the win we needed and we’re in the hat on Monday morning. On we go, onto whatever and whoever we’re fated to meet in Round 4 next weekend.

Mayo: David Clarke; Chris Barrett, Brendan Harrison, Keith Higgins; Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Paddy Durcan (0-1); Mikey Murray, Aidan O’Shea; Fionn McDonagh (1-1), Conor Loftus (0-2, free), Ciaran Treacy; Jason Doherty (0-1), Andy Moran, Darren Coen (0-4). Subs: Kevin McLoughlin (1-1) for Moran, Stephen Coen for Keegan, Donal Vaughan (0-1) for Murray, Cillian O’Connor (0-2, frees) for Loftus, Fergal Boland for Doherty, Evan Regan for Treacy.  

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

  • Darren Coen (34%, 682 Votes)
  • Colm Boyle (21%, 432 Votes)
  • Fionn McDonagh (15%, 297 Votes)
  • Kevin McLoughlin (9%, 188 Votes)
  • David Clarke (6%, 118 Votes)
  • Aidan O'Shea (5%, 109 Votes)
  • Keith Higgins (2%, 36 Votes)
  • Stephen Coen (2%, 31 Votes)
  • Chris Barrett (1%, 23 Votes)
  • Conor Loftus (1%, 17 Votes)
  • Mikey Murray (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Brendan Harrison (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Paddy Durcan (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Cillian O'Connor (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Lee Keegan (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Ciaran Treacy (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Donal Vaughan (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Andy Moran (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Fergal Boland (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Evan Regan (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Jason Doherty (0%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,148

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98 thoughts on “Mayo 2-13 Armagh 1-15: falling over the line

  1. Two big issues;

    1. We can’t finish out matches….ever
    2. Injuries – we need Keegan

    I thought we’d control middle and squeeze Armagh out but we never had control of game.

    So are we in genuine decline or are they better than we thought.

    Clarke proves for me no debate over keeper position… we’d have lost without his saves.

  2. Two other things- where has Coen been all these years?

    Truth be told they had chances to at least level it

  3. My nerves are gone….what the hell. I totally frazzled. 5 points up and barely hung on at the end. Cannot cope with Lee injured and Jason. Injuries are mounting. There will be sore bodies tonight. These qualifiers are killers. Poor Diarmuid with hand in sling. Well done Darren Coen. Love ya Boyler! What a warrior he is.

  4. Too many times in second half we carried the ball into the tackle and got turned over too easy- especially in half forward line. We are too slow kicking ball into our full forward line. Aidan should be told to stay away from taking the frees. Always liable to take wrong option on the fees.

  5. I think it’s fair to say we’re in transition more than decline, where we go this year is hard to guess.
    Making super 8s and putting up good show would be as much as can expect. Injuries is main reason for this.
    I felt our middle struggled and some new lads struggled in 2nd half.

  6. Don’t want to be too critical as lads were literally dying on their feet for the team again tonight.I am putting the last 10 minutes of chaos when nobody was showing for any pass/free/kickout down to that
    So I will start with the positives

    Boyler- phenomenal especially when things were not going well at the start
    Fionn McDonagh – fearless and can kick a score. Going to be some player. Reminds me a bit of Diarmuid when he first came on the scene. And the way he goes into tackles…….
    Coen- he has surprised me. Shame we have 2 extra scorinf forwards while the team is falling apart behind them!!!
    Cillian back – showed great experience to slow the game down at a vital stage and Kevin Mc capitlaised bu getting free moved in
    Free taking – hit all bar one I think

    Negatives
    Higgins – he just can not start the next day. Eoin O Donoghue has to. I won’t say anymore as he he has been a great servant
    Tactics – 5 points up. See the game out with a sweeper maybe? NO NO NO don’t be silly lets play a 2 man
    full back line man to man. CRAZY CRAZY stuff. The whole defensive set up was from start to finish and Horan WILL NOT CHANGE.
    Kevin Mc goal also showed the fallacy of playing him inside . He needs to be running with the ball

    There is no way we were winning that game in ET so thank God for the lunatic of an Armagh player that tried to kick a score from halfway!!!!

    Anyway we are in the hat and I want either Meath or Cavan. Not looking beyond round 4 and the last 10 minutes could be very similar to today sadly.
    If we were to sneak through 2 more super 8 games before a break will just be too much sadly
    UP MAYO

  7. Let’s give some credit to Armagh though they are a fine team and took their scores well and everytime they ran at us they looked like scoring. The main thing is we won but Lee’s injury is sickening. I’m a huge fan
    Of David Clarke and I’d have him before Hennelly but some of his kick outs were woeful and he doesn’t fill me with confidence even though he is a great shot stopper. We should spend the Fbd league year trying to find a new keeper. Anyone we are still alive roll on Monday

  8. Also it is too soon for Mikey Murray and he looks more like a half forward than a midfielder. Maybe a 3rd midfielder role but not in a pair. It was a hard hard slog for Aido tonight and if he is shut down next week we are goosed

  9. I think we beat a very good Armagh team tonight. I think they are much better than some people give them credit for.

    Well done team and managment.
    Some of our play was outrageously good eg score taking.

    Some of our play was very poor eg soloing in to cover, very poor passing.

    The injuries are going to cripple us, excuse the pun.

    I’m thrilled we’re in the hat again, but the big concern is who will be unavailable next Saturday.

    Congratulations again to the team and managment on a terrific and hard earned win.

    Don’t think we kicked a wide in the 2nd half. A good bucken job too, seeing as we only won by the 1 point.

  10. Our main strength of controlling the middle is gone with all the injuries so putting more pressure on us to perform up from. Coen was excellent, Mc Loughlin, Mc Donagh in 1st half and O Connor when he came on. Not sure we can survive much longer with teams driving at our defence. We have lost too many players but hats off to everyone of the lads and the Management Team for getting us through tonight.

  11. The team is in transition. Patience required. McDonagh had a stormer in the first half but faded. Expected from a newcomer. McLoughlin was excellent in the second half – he’s cute and knows when to ride the tackle for a free. Loftus, for me, no doubt a stylish footballer, but lacks the presence and guile to play at 11. He doesn’t demand the ball and take it forward a la McGuigan from Tyrone or Flynn from
    Dublin. Too quiet.

    The team is losing leaders at a rapid pace. A soft draw v Meath would do nicely. Armagh are solid – don’t discount that. They will challenge in Ulster next year.

    It was a proper championship match and will stand to Horan & co. Move on and don’t look back.

  12. We haven’t closed out a match since we beat Roscommon in the replay in ’17. I think there were some positives to take away from tonight but they are going to be overshadowed by us almost handing it all away. The lads keep dropping like flies…. We have to take it a week at a time and work with the players who are available. We will learn a lot about ourselves in the coming week (s). Some great individual performances from a few seasoned vets and also nice to see Mcdonagh adjusting to the gauntlet that is champo football. Murray will be a very good inter county midfielder and I thought he did well enough with the task at hand tonight. A few silly turnovers were expected and I think Horan made the right call taking him out when he did. However, the Andy substitution is still a little confusing. Obviously Kevin MC was great but I thought Andy was doing well enough and would have liked to have seen him on a little longer. Cillian charging back on after almost a year was great to see and those two frees he kicked over were huge and I am glad to see him back on the pitch. Aido had a tough night and midfield was surely not dominated by us as we all had hoped. He worked hard but of course had that one costly enough turnover that could have led to more. I for the life of me can’t figure out why he won’t kick the fecking thing over the bar. Overall I think it was a better performance than what the scoreline suggested. Either way we are in the bowl come Monday. We go again!

  13. Congrats on a hard fought victory .
    As a dub fan I believe Mayo will draw Cavan and have a comfortable victory , setting up your home game against Dublin. Looking forward to the craic , the pints and the banter at that game .

  14. We are very light around the middle of the field now…Aido cant do it all. The injuries are a big worry…it was bad enough but losing leeroy and Jason Doc may be a bridge to far for this team. Our inability to put a game away is also worrying…it’s like we switch off mentally when it looks like the job is done. On a positive note Darren Coen was brilliant, Fionn McDonagh might have overcooked it at times but if we manage to get to see the wide open spaces of croke park mark my words this kid will do damage. Boyler looked back to somewhere near his brilliant best. We won and we ard still alive…fingers crossed the injuries aren’t too bad and we make it to the lasr 8.

  15. Just as well these injuries didn’t happen at training or the conspiracy theorists would have had a field day. The intensity of these sessions has got to try and match the intensity of when there is 18k people present and it’s a must win. If we can reach the super 8’s there’s a good chance of Diarmuid being back for game 3 of 3. I hope Mondays draw is good to us and that we can recover well over the next 6 or 7 days.

  16. Well if the aim was to come in under the radar after winning the league I guess we’ve accomplished that. Ferocious stuff but taking everything into consideration it’s amazing we’re still standing.
    I don’t think we have resources for super 8 cause we’ve too many warriors on the table…shame really cause we have some squad when you put them all fit and rearing onto a field. It’s hard not to be full of admiration for this team of Mayo heroes. They’ve been truly amazing and I continue to be surprised by their resilience. Brilliant men. Thank you Mayo. Rest well this week and may the gods shine some good fortune on you for a change. You deserve it.
    Tough game tonight and who knows how much more these engines can give. I want to say thank you and I’ll be rooting for you all the way. Maigheo mo chroí go deo.

  17. Thatsthat – Unfortunately ‘transition’ is a fancy way of saying a team is not as good as it was.

    Clarke is an outstanding keeper and rarely gets caught on kick-outs. Instead the issue is the quality of midfielders he’s kicking to.

    After all Cluxton had to kick short ones against us and Kerry in the past when them and us got on top in midfield.

    Look at the stats re Clarke’s kick-outs very strong success rate each time.

    The chief role of a keeper is to protect the goal both in the air and on the ground – Clarke the best in the country at both. People have got too clever re their argument about the trajectory of his kick outs. Nonsense.

    He rarely makes mistakes from kick outs and if our midfield performs then his long ones are caught by us.

    Without him Armagh would have won tonight and possibly Down last week…..a point lost by a lot of people when they seek excuses for an under performing midfield

    We’re blessed to have him!

  18. A win is a win but Christ that was far from conniving yet again. Deegan gave a lot of home decisions there tonight and those that think home advantage doesn’t count in tight games like that can think again.

    Boyle, D Coen were the stand outs for Mayo and mad to think both weren’t named to start. COC played his part in the win without him those two frees might have been missed and Mayo lose by a point instead of winning by 1?

    I expect Mayo to now improve for next weekend because they will simply have to.

  19. Spotlight what’s fancy about the word transition,
    It’s a fact. Decline was last year. With injuries were forced sooner into transition.
    I tried used French to be fancy, hence transition translated is translated, merci!

  20. I must be wrong in this but I thought Cillian only needed 2 points to equal the all time scoring record? He got the 2 points but haven’t heard it mentioned

  21. If we focus on the negatives ‘re the injuries – we will be beaten before we tog out next weekend. There were three positive this evening – Cillian and Donie both saw significant game time that will stand to them for next weekend and Carr was also fit enough for the bench. Who knows- Seamie might be in the 26 for next weekend.

  22. We failed to control the middle & with our injuries that’s understandable. Getting to the Super 8s is possible but outside Dublin no other team could cope with the injuries we have

  23. Cavan looks the best draw for us. If we beat cavan, first game is away to roscommon and then winner of cork qualifier in croke park. Then Dublin at home. If its cork we play Dublin first up. Thinks that’s too soon to face Dublin.

  24. Thatsthat – wasn’t having a pop at you at all. What I meant is that’s the word the media use when, put simply, a team’s not as good as it was. If u think about it that’s what the word is basically referring to.

  25. Revellino – we didn’t! Colm Boyle booted an attempted pass forward to nobody in particular which went wide but that was the only one we recorded in the second half. We scored from every attempt at the posts in that half. This fact, I should add, was first brought to my attention by Edwin McGreal on the podcast, which you’ll be able to hear tomorrow.

  26. intensity at training needs to match the matches, what? That’s the bloody problem. Men who have slaved many for 7 years on the trot need to tough it out at training now when we are going from game to game each week – now that is simply madness. A fair few positives from tonight despite the cardiac problems inflicted on fans, But for certain sure, if premiership players have the smarts to coast along in mild recovery training from one weekend to the next, surely we have enough cop on within the camp to know that its all about recovery, rest and reset of the bodies now until next Saturday. Sure there are up to 18 lads on the extended panel who will benefit from a good blow out and some pressing training, but there are up to a dozen lads now excluding DOC and Keegan, who should not step into the football boots until Friday night next

  27. Well done to Mayo. Just about.

    You pay to watch players like Coen and Jamie Clarke. Someone asked it above and I have to repeat as an outsider – where the Jaysus has that Coen before now….I’ve seen him twice and he is the best point taker I’ve seen from Mayo for a very long time….is this a flash in the pan or a massive miss for years?

  28. Spotlight, appreciate reply.
    I’m unsure though, would think declining is falling from peak, transition is years of been average,
    I hope not though as Armagh are so since 2004 and do look like there on an upward curve.
    I’m Being fancy now 🙂

  29. Agree we did some things right tonight. The most thing we did wrong was to stupidly carry the ball into contact and lose possession. We can put this right fairly easily.
    As regards our seeming inability to close out matches properly this could be fatigue – mental or physical – resulting in us powering down when we think we have the game won. Remember many of our lads have been on the road quite a long time.

  30. Coen is our best forward now. Where has he been for the last 4 or 5 years

    Jamie Clarke is a joy to watch.

    A lot of of people hoping for cavan in the draw, I disagree. Meath would be the best draw for us. Leinster runners up haven’t won their back door in 8 years. Always completely demoralised after a leinster final hiding from dublin

  31. Spotlight, actually decline could be seen as transition. Transition could be used for improving also, but in our case it’s not the later.

  32. Nothing soft left for the next round – I’m not sure I want to face more Ulster opposition next week again. A demoralised Meath team (we owe them after 1996 and all that!) would do nicely. I really hope that Galway get Tyrone – they deserve each other!

  33. To think in a parallel universe we could be sitting nice and cosy and unscathed in the super 8s watching our two Connacht buddies battle it out in round 4 next week!!

    The panicking-when-we-build-up-a-lead shtick is becoming a running joke by now. And not of the funny variety. I honestly don’t know how we held on. I said to my brother that Armagh would lose a bit of composure as the game went on, and they did fine to be fair, right until the last kick which was unforgivable on their part. So in many ways we’re lucky to be out of that alive. This time last year we were lamenting a loss so lets bask in victory for a moment.

    Hard to know. We’re labouring badly, yet haven’t even played a 2020 division 1 side yet. I don’t know who I want in the draw. I think all are better sides than armagh (Meath did get promoted in march well ahead of them) so we’re in bother either way I feel. But all are winnable too…

    Our full back line is a glaring weakness. No marks given for guessing what our opponent’s mgmt team will be planning for next Saturday . In fact I think Armagh will be bitterly disappointed they didn’t find our net on a few more occasions given how easy they took their goal and how early it happened. One more goal would have won it for them. Did their forward panic when he was one on one with Clarke and fired over? Could he have rounded him?

    Lets finish on a positive(s)

    – Darren Coen
    – mcdonagh’s first half
    – Vaughan point
    – Boyler
    -mcloughlins goal and general liveliness

    The rest of the troops will be called into the bosses office Monday morning I think

    Anyhow, onwards . Still alive etc

  34. Cork or Cavan would be a great draw for Us next Saturday and we could avoid the potential Group of Death Donegal,Kerry and possibly Tyrone!!
    Ross would never beat us 2 in a row!!

  35. Mayo won a very competitive game tonight against a good team in Armagh. We had a few injuries to some vital players in a squad that is losing a lot of experienced talent through burnout and wear and tear. Some of the new players are showing their worth and would possibly not be getting to do so were it not for the current circumstances. Fair play to all involved. Given the past twelve months history of injuries it’s a miracle and a credit to them that they are still slogging it out. Maigh Eo abu.

  36. Did anyone see Tyrone game? I watched it back after

    I’m not overly enamoured with them, and think they’re average in plenty of positions, but boy do they efficiently beat the teams below them with minimal fuss, and in all fairness they never panic – even when neilan… I mean Kildare… Reigned them in a bit in the first half!!

    Not sure what our issue is? Psychological surely? It’s been happening ever since the semi in 2012. The mayo that are about 5 points down in big games are the greatest team I’ve seen in GAA history!!! When we take the lead we slip down the pecking order rapid!!!

    I was half joking when I told my brother I wish McLoughlin’s shot went over! Turns out we may have been better off, as the further we go ahead the more lax we get

  37. A few observations.

    Definitely waiting to be knocked out but that’s understandable given the injuries.

    K Mc was MOTM for me. We needed that goal so badly and only he had the pace and deftness to cut them opem like that. He also scored a good point from play and he won both frees which were the winning of the game. Boyle as MOTM, as well as he played, is daft.

    Coen has been great and long may it continue but his form could easily dip too with a couple of bad wides. Here’s hoping he stays on fire.

    Loftus is not the player people are hoping he will be and we are in trouble if is our answer at 11. Despite the talent he is very meek both in the challenge and on the ball.

    Finally, we’re shagged at mid field! Aidan can only do so much.

  38. Lads we won a match played at halter skelter championship heat. Be happy.

    Clarke was superb. Don’t want to hear he misplaced one kick bla bla. He stopped a certain 6 points in the two goal chances.
    Barrett and Harrison have had better days but stook with it. The pair of them really need help through not their fault just quality of opposition. Barrett as. 6 Boyler sweeping and o Donoughue in corner gives better balance I think.
    Keegan was returning to top form hope he z ok.
    Boyle and durkan worked hard and showed well.
    Aidan o Shea was a real leader against twodam good midfielders but why is he taking Free’s never was his strong point. Get him on end of one twos but not taking Free’s on his own 13 or 21.
    Murray done fine and will grow from that experience
    McDonagh is pat Harte version 2.0. Class act.
    Loftus showed his bottle at start and lead by example. His presence allowed doh and Mcloughlin to focus on their own games as they shit themselves on frees.
    I’d start Loftus again. He was crowded out but is important all same and would have slotted two frees Cillian for taking his tally to 4 which would bring 1-8 in two games.
    Tracey like Loftus didn’t suit him but would start him again next day. He will love spaces in Croker. Like Murray will be all better if having got that under his belt.
    Andy showed well and will be kept on his toes.
    Coen. Top class efficiency if that was Andy or any of the dubs they be raving about it.
    Doherty grew into game. Hope for more from him and hopefully he can grow from this performance

    Credit to Horan subs went well.

    Without Keegan we need to shift Higgins out field or start James Mccormack.
    Don’t mind who we draw we will win. This team is growing but need to help the fullback line to be in contention for super 8s.

    Drawing Galway and beating them would spring board our year but need to give harri and Barrett help with comer.

  39. It’s like this, if we get the following :

    Beat Galway means away to Kerry, Croker v Meath or whoever beats them, home to Donegal

    Beat Cavan means away to Ross, Croker against Cork or whoever beats them and home to Dublin

    Beat Cork means away to away to dublin, Croker for Cavan or whoever beats them, home to Rossies

    Beat Meath means away to Donegal, Croker for Galway or whoever beats them, home to Kerry

  40. I agree with you there Skorzeny.

    I think it was a great win tonight against a very good Armagh.

    After almost cobbeling a team together due to injuries, the good stuff tonight from our lads was so good that it just about made up for all the mistakes.

    It took some amount of courage and guts to win that game. I’m thrilled for the team and manager tonight.

  41. casual observer ,u are on the money .liamontherunsince51.if we draw meath and beat meath we then have to travel to donegal in first game ,not so nice. IF we draw CAVAN WE GO TO HYDE PARK FOR OUR FIRST GAME,that is an apetitising prospect.

  42. Agree with gbxi on loftus thought he was pushed off ball very easy. At one stage number 10 for Armagh actually dived on a ball in the middle, and a raft of players in his way – that’s the fire and intensity you need at intercounty

    Even Clarke, who never struck me as a workhorse, won a few balls 30/70 in favour of his marker. When the chips were down he put his body on the line also.

  43. KM 79 Higgins had a very good game this eveing. Also Armagh kept their kick outs awaY FREOM aIDEN

  44. Anyone who thought we would easily beat Armagh obviously didn’t see what they did to Monaghan last week. They tore them apart. The writing was on the wall that they would run the hell out of us and we struggled every time they did. The cat is most certainly out of the bag that strong running teams will cause us problems. The fact that we could have won it easily but for the jitters towards the end is actually a positive. We need to be closing out games more ruthlessly. But we’ve known that for a long time now. The main thing is that we’re in the draw on Monday but injuries and the quick succession of games on already tired legs will compound the problem of being able to deal with runners from deep. Reaching the Super 8s will be a pretty good achievement given the circumstances. Onward we march.

  45. Excellent summary Auldstock! Based on that it’s Cavan all day long for me! Would win first 2 games, take the 3rd game off against dubs to rest and get ready for semifinal! Sounds straight forward but Mayo don’t do straight forward!

  46. Wow, that was close. I feared their goals potential, but we bested them there..
    Well done to all, players and management. Horan got a lot right, and will do better again, though the injuries are a pain. But we are still there.
    Good luck to Armagh. They will be a very good team before too long.
    Well done to all.

  47. The funny thing about Loftus is. He collided with a Down player 50/50 shoulder to shoulder and the Down lad went down and required attention.

    He got involved at halftime tonight in a shoulder squabble leaving the pitch and dished out a couple of nice hefty shoulders I have to say.

    I think he’s tougher than we think but would agree that he needs to use more agression in the game itself.

    As regards the backs I think they have improved from the Rossies game to the Down game and improved again tonight. Another improvement or maybe slight personnel / positional change would make all the difference for round 4.

  48. What about WJ’s cursed “who do we want to face in the next Round poll”.

    We’re 2 for 2 in drawing the teams that we least want to face.

    Is there any way we can do a bit of voodoo or rig the friggen poll this time ?

  49. Auld stock, your message is a copy and paste of a message I wrote in WhatsApp tonight xD christ these things spread quickly!

    Cavan would be the one I’d like to see alright

  50. My late uncle used to say Darren was the best footballer he ever saw play, and he was an avid follower of Mayo football. He could never understand he wasnt on Mayo team in latter years.
    How happy he would be tonight!!

  51. Media predicted all week that we would lose to a up and coming Armagh team. We beat them and now they will be saying we aren’t good enough someone else is gonna catch us on the hop. We are one game away from where we want to be, however our depth is getting seriously stretched l. One thing to take from all this is that we still have a squad of solid players to get us a good run in the super 8s. Vaughan can come in for Lee (if he’s not fit) with Mccormack and Plunkett waiting to run into battle. Seamie should be fit next weekend to come into midfield. Cillian and James Carr can come in for Jason (if not fit) with Kevin Mc dropping back. Enjoy our win I have a feeling if we get to the super 8s we will get on a roll. Let everyone write us off that’s when we preform our best. James has built a proper squad and its showing now with all the injury’s to key players.

  52. Darren was a super minor but for whatever reason it never happened for him.at senior county level.

    How old is he now?

  53. Does anyone have any idea of what the possible neutral venues could be for next weekend? 🙂

  54. Also let’s be VERY clear. There is no soft draw on Monday!! The way we are playing coupled with Injuries means next wknd will be incredibly tough for us.

  55. Hope we avoid Galway and Cork, so can everyone vote for them when WJ puts up the poll?…in order to avoid the “curse of the poll” striking 3 weeks in a row :).

    On paper Meath or Cavan would be the best draws, but they’ll be tough games in their own right. The injuries are killing us, wtf have we done in a previous life?. Anyways, great to see Coen showing so well. Boyler played brilliant when has sweeping, which seemed most of the second half. McDonagh a great prospect, his running into tackles an blind alleys can be easily fixed.

    I think Andy was taken off because his marker was full of running. Andy wasn’t able to track him down the pitch and he caused us bother. Fair play to Horan for identifying and rectifying that issue. I’d give Horan an 8/10 for his game managment.

  56. Some craic now lads!!! We’re not close to being up to it with all the injuries but buckle up and enjoy the ole rollercoaster of next weekend. Could be coming to an abrupt halt and its been some journey but I think it’ll keep going. Any update on Lee Keegans injury? I’ve had a few pints in castlebar tonight and spoke to a load of folks and the overall consensus is glass half empty kind of stuff. However I said it already that these lads will make the all ireland this year. They’re dogged and teak tough. Even Loftus who looks like a small enough fella can dish it out in a very unexpected manner. I couldn’t believe his aggression when coming off at half time. It’ll happen that we make the last 2 but win it we won’t!!! ?

  57. As an Ard Mhacha supporter, I have to give credit where credit is due. All those men from both counties who crossed the white line this evening went out to give us supporters a proper football match – not one of those chess matches that have come to epitomise the modern GAA.
    We all paid our pennyworth into McHale Park and we all got value for our money – a great match with some great scores from both teams, never mind the hard hits!
    Of course, there are those “what ifs” and “buts” about players from both teams and what would have been the outcome if both counties could have each fielded their number one squads.
    But for entertainment value, its fair to say both teams gave their all.
    Good luck with Monday’s draw.
    I’m sure its only a matter of time until we meet again in the Super 8’s – if not the All-Ireland final within a few years!!!!
    Ádh mór agus go n-éirí an bóthar libh.

  58. Darren Coen turns 27 this year. The same age group as Cillian and Brendan Harrison.

    James Burke – No way would I put Seamie into midfield beside Aidan. We need somebody more mobile like Vaughan or Murray (who I thought showed well in flashes). If Keegan’s out Higgins will probably be half back, as he was for most of the Armagh game, and Stephen Coen might go to the full back line. He quitened Rian O’Neill in the 2nd half.

  59. Hopefully we get Cavan. For me thats the best result.
    Keegan might be grand. He came off injured V Derry in 2017 and he was grand the next week.
    We were lucky tonight but now we know KMc’s best position if we didn’t before.
    It’s a long year yet

  60. I think it’s Cavan we want, but in conjunction with Cork drawing anyone but Tyrone.

    I’m sorry to say that I will not be seeing any of you next Saturday. I checked flights and it’s only $4,000 🙁

  61. Wouldn’t Personally mind drawing Galway….
    It’s in the lap of the Gods.,….. Jesus that was tough in Castlebar V Armagh… do any of ye, who had questioned our home form seriously think we would have won that Match in Armagh?…. I have serious doubts. .. However while we were lucky yesterday, that Armagh Team would have beaten most team’s yesterday …A tiny small bit of improvement and game managnent and I genuinely could see them (Armagh) challenge the Dub’s,… not this year, but very soon all the same..They are a really inexperienced Team at this level… Anyhow neutral venue next weekend?, …We are all still alive, just trying to figure out just how many of our nine lives (I feel like a lucky Cat tonight) we blew on Saturday evening!., Same Time and Same Bat Channel next Saturday…. I’m going out to count my lucky Chicken’s, even though I don’t have any, but with Mayo’s Luck yesterday evening, you never know a Friendly Fox might just show up with one, unharmed and healthy just for me to look after!

  62. Darren Coen has surely cemented his place in the forward line now along with McDonagh, both of whom make for improvements on the forward line of recent years. With our midfield injury list Donie Vaughan has to join Aiden. Mikey Murray did some good work but is not yet up to the required speed. I think one of our biggest problems is a lack of pace in the backline, particularly full backs. Andy Moran also seems to have lost a yard or so in pace. Cillian needs to start next day and stay up front in the forward line. Boland I thought very quiet today and hardly deserves to hold on if the likes of Carr is fit. Boyle should also hold his place regardless of whether Lee is fit or not. If Lee is not fit the next day I would bring in McCormack in preference to Plunkett

  63. We have serious problems in the middle. Clarke targeted O’Shea all evening with the long kick outs and Armagh copped to it. They crowded him out and he won very few of them in the end. It was far too predictable and if Armagh were able to do this, better teams will cop onto it too.

    The list of injuries is very worrying. We are on borrowed time truth be told. We exerted incredible amounts of energy to just fall over the line today. We huffed and puffed really. I think next weekend could be a bridge too far, given our lack of depth and how we’re struggling at the back.
    Speaking of which, there’s a serious lack of pace in that back line. They’re regularly getting roasted now. Higgins surely can’t hold onto his place?
    Finally, does anyone think our fitness is not a patch on previous years?

  64. @Dreamy, I thought Higgins done alright, without naming names, their was a few very poor displays but Higgins wasn’t one of them imo. I think our fitness is grand, that was a humid evening and very fast paced game, any team would be tiring in that weather.

  65. Keith Higgins was not great defensively. Really, none of the full backline performed. This line is consistently 5/10 for us this year.
    Interestingly when the bigger more conservative Stephen Coen came on he had one of the best defensive displays we’ve had this year. He simply focussed on keeping Rian O’Neill quiet.
    Clarke would have been unable to move Caolan Crowe for the goal with Crowe being much more physical and heavier than Harrison. Brendan Harrison took a bit of a battering and I believe there’s no way he could be physically close to Caolan Crowe the next day in terms of game readiness . I’d be looking to get Eoin O’Donoghue in. Stephen Coen Caolan Crowe Eoin O’Donoghue would go better defensively than our current full backline.
    Really proud of all the fringe players who are stepping in to cover all these injuries. They’re not ready yet, but this season will bring them on a lot.
    The eventual return of James Carr would really help our attacking play. He has the power to take on his man.

  66. Can anyone tell me what Higgins did that he deserves to be dropped? Or maybe something he didn’t do?
    Maybe my judgement is beginning to slip but I thought Higgins did ok tonight. We need to remember that these Armagh forwards are fairly good footballers.

  67. For the goal, he had a ball coming in the air overhead and very catchable, he chose to slap the ball down ahead with no Mayo player ahead of the ball.
    He was now next to Rian O’Neill, Higgins stays static looking out the pitch, Armagh have won the ball. ONeill sees the acre of open space behind ball watching Higgins and starts to drift away from Higgins unnoticed.
    Pass played to Armagh forward out left, now and only now Higgins checks where ONeill is. The ball is played across to O’Neill for a simple goal.
    Other than that he had no blocks or tackles of note. The usual, standing off Jemar Hall at times being nice. Armagh up the other end being in our forwards faces for 70 mins. Harrison was guilty of the same.

  68. JP Keith had a Mayo player just in front to his right who didn’t react to the slap down. I agree he lost O Neill but McDonagh could have done better in defending the goal opportunity. If we are going to drop Keith for a mistake like that then there are a whole lot of other lads we need to look at also.

  69. Watched game on TV as couldn’t make it for other reasons.

    Mayo playing a match against any type of team deemed inferior, equal or better you’ve no idea what to expect. It’s crazy stuff.

    But, it’s what Mayo do and we won’t change.

    Armagh are a fine football team who’d to lose tonight.

    Look at the players we were missing or lost during the game. The strength of character is immense and they give it all to keep the mad lunatics in the stand entertained. Crazy stuff.

    I’m not really bothered who we draw, either way it’s another step up but despite a slightly haywire performance we are improving.

    Players will make mistakes and opposition players will do same. Try to limit and exploit in equal measure.

    Few more tweaks for next week and we’ll go roaring again.

    Up. Mayo.

  70. Excusing the slapdown then, the ball watching is inexcusable. Keith Higgins has been continuously caught ball watching for many key goals in championship.
    If he looked to ONeill he would have seen he was the only defender with ONeill and there being a clear path to goal.
    A young player would not survive the shepherds crook for continually being caught ball watching.
    Besides that he is not a tenacious enough or physical enough defender.
    Stands off his man like you’d see a pure underage game. Nice guy defending is killing us.

  71. I thought that was an excellent game and a great one to win Sure we were far from perfect. That’s why we are in the qualifiers. Full back line struggled. Lots of lads, younger ones especially ran the ball into tackles and were turned over constantly by great Armagh tackling. Worried that we blew lead so easily and then of course there’s that desperate run of injuries. But look at the bigger picture. This great team of ours are so resilient and brave and provide incredible entertainment to both ourselves and to the GAA public. New players are being introduced and they will improve from game to game.We again need a favourable draw and may well struggle with the Super 8s if we get there but what a learning curve it will be for those young men. We really have to be less negative and stop expecting players to be absolutely outstanding every day they play. They are human beings not machines. They make mistakes, they do good things but they always give their best. That was a fine Armagh team we beat who came in to this match on the back of giving a right trimming to a Monaghan team who were one score away from AI Final last year. Our forwards were incredibly economical in the second half with Coen and K Mc outstanding There’s life in the old dog yet.Up Mayo.

  72. Fair enough JP he has his flaws but did you notice how many players the Armagh No 7 ran past so easily in setting up that attack – Jason Doherty, Conor Loftus, Mike Murray and Aidan O Shea with no effort by any of them to stop him. Jason Doherty just stood up! It’s easy to point a finger at the likes of Keith but there were other serious defensive frailties leading up to that goal by other players. I also noticed a couple of mayo defenders strolling back in the critical second just before O Neill finished it off.
    I’m not for dropping Higgins- he has a lot to offer still.

  73. Great point off left foot (under pressure) Vaughan. Good man. Great night with an electric atmosphere. Mac Hale Park can be so dull at times particularly against Galway. Last night was alive!

  74. I agree with to win just once that was a fine Armagh team they put us under pressure for the entire game that win will stand to us and the young lads will learn loads.our defence is a bit open but it can be fixed I was glad to see Horan on the sideline very animated clapping every score and urging his team on usually he’s just walking around with his head down I think Horan had his best game on the sideline in ages and made timely substitutions for a change. All the talk leading up to the match was about Jarly Og Burns And Rian O Neil who are fine players and had good games but Boyle Darren Coen And Fionn Mc Donagh stole the show

  75. These qualifiers are not for the faint hearted. Each week before a match a few here come out with the “Mayo by 4” or more even. From the other sides perspective we are a potential big scalp and our opponents are facing the gate. As a result they are raising their game as it might well be their last, so there were never going to be easy draws. That is why Armagh played out of their skins. And given the way we fall over the line it is making us look more vulnerable. The draws aren’t getting any easier.
    I looked at our two man full forward line at one stage in the second half when the play was at the other end of the field, their men were poised like panthers ready to pounce as they were about to run for a ball. Our marking needs to tighten up at the back.
    As well as the ball watching, we had several passes intercepted waiting for the ball to come and what I can’t understand is how we win so few breaks. If it was predictable that Clarke would target AOS on the kick out, it was also obvious that Armagh would break the ball away from him, but it seemed to me they won most of the breaks. InDespite all the injuries there was enough fellas in the middle third for us to win more breaking ball.

    The main thing is we are still standing, despite the injuries. There is more depth to the squad than there was this time last year. COC is back, Coen brings a dimension to the forwards we have been lacking for some time. Loftus does not have the large physique as Centre forward but he he is good distributor of the ball and he can score his frees. The same use of the squad has not happened in the backs, particularly the full back line, I can’t help think O Donoghue, Drake and Crowe should have seen some more action than they have at this stage.

  76. It’s all about progress and introducing new players into championship football at this stage. Hopefully we get a decent draw in the morning and progress into the Super 8’s. I said at the start of the year that a Connacht title and a decent run in the 8’s was my target for the year, we didn’t make one but we can make the other. The injury list is a worry but if we can get over next weekend I think Aiden might get a bit of help around the middle with the return of some key players. We were actually under pressure yesterday when Armagh went 15 on 15 and it wasn’t until they dropped men back that we gained an upper hand. They did it again in the last ten minutes and we struggled again. A team with their backs to the wall playing with nothing to lose in the last few minutes of a game will always be dangerous and Armagh proved it yesterday.

  77. Suicidal at the end, 5 points up and we can’t see it out, start panicking – a team with lads that have played in 4 or 5 all-Irelands. Same as last week v Down when 7 up, fell back when we should have drove on and made it 9 or 10.

    As it stands and with the injuries factored in, I’d back us v Meath or Cavan. Less so v Cork, who tore into Kerry, and less again v Galway, who despite the second half debacle v Roscommon are a Kevin Walsh sacking and a change in tactics and the picking of a few more Corofin lads away from being the second best team in the country, or at least on a par with Donegal.

    Higgins probably needs to be dropped. Bad – again – for the goal, and offered no leadership (along with a few others) during the panic-strewn final 10 minutes. Only way he stays is as a halfback ( and only because Keegan’s gone) or as sweeper option. EOD should come in at 4. Loftus disappointing yesterday too, not much in the game and missed a very easy free.

    I’d go with this 15 next week (Boyle being rested rather than dropped, but he might have to play if it’s Galway)

    Clarke
    Barrett Harrison EO’D
    Higgins/Boyle Vaughan Durcan
    AO’S Murray
    McDonagh McLoughlin Treacy
    CO’C D.Coen Moran

    leaves bench options like Carr (if fit though could start ahead of Andy), Higgins/Boyle, Boland, Drake, Loftus, McCormack, Plunkett, Diskin, Regan, S.Coen, Hennelly

    Keegan, SO’S, DO’C, Doherty, Parsons – fair injury list

  78. I think we would have lost that game if not for Keith Higgins, he continually showed for the short kickouts in the second half during a period when no1 wanted the ball. We were losing all our long kickouts, Armagh’s tails were up so gaining those possessions were vital. The biggest difference between this year and last is we used our bench effectively. Mcloughlin came on and scored 1-1, Coen came on and kept Rian O’Neil quiet, Donie came on, scored a point and gave us more physicality around the middle, cillian came on and scored 2. Boland did OK. We’re goosed with injuries being honest but overall we have more squad depth than we’ve had in previous years.

  79. I agree that Keith has been caught ball watching but he’s not the only one. On the flip side late in the game he was one of the few defensive players taking the game to Armagh.. collecting the short kickout, linking play and running at them. It’s all irrelevant now anyways with all the injuries because we just simply don’t have enough bodies left and players will have to be rested so you will see a raft of chanes again next week forced or otherwise. This is a great chance for guys to put up the hand up.. we have nothing and everything to loose the next day.. put everyone on the field.. run the full panel and it might be just enough.

  80. Let’s flip the Higgins argument around so cos people must have been watching different matches than me the last few weeks. E
    What has Eoin O Donoghue done wrong not to warrant a SINGLE MINUTE of championship football thus year? Even when we had subs left against Roscommon? Inexplicable
    Higgins marking his man from 10 yards in front was always heart attack stuff before this year and has continually cost us. He has now def lost a yard of pace and continues to do it?
    And don’t get me started on him flapping the ball down for the goal 25 yards out………..the full back line clearly needs freshening up and he is the first to go for me . And look at it this way……wouldn’t he offer a great option for the last 20 minutes as well. Not necessarily as a corner back either…..

  81. This JP fellow seems to know it all. Disappointed Willie Joe you are allowing this Keith Higgins bashing to continue. The Mayo full back line is not the problem here. Our half forward line and their lack of physicality and tracking their men is where the problem lies along with a partner for Aidan at midfield. Ruane is a huge loss in this sector simply to allow Aidan to be our defensive midfielder and concentrate on that alone which in my opinion is his best position.

  82. Chisel – it’s not “bashing”. It’s criticism, pointing to specific incidents in the game so it’s evidence-based and others can rebut by looking themselves at the same incidents. It’s the antithesis of “bashing”. Debate is what it is.

  83. I don’t know it all Chisel, I always include a detail when I post anything negative.
    I have always believed Keith Higgins is wasted at corner back. The game opens up more on 55 mins, couldn’t we have Keith in as an impact sub to simply counter attack from the middle of the pitch?

  84. A few thoughts on team selection, Higgins is still very good on the ball and he can still be a serious line breaker for us. All of the fullback line are good on the ball and that is why James won’t rest/drop any of them. I would have no issue with Crowe, O’Donoghue or Drake getting game time but as Stephen Rochford pointed out before sometime s if will lose something to gain something. Boyler is a warrior and defended very well yesterday but I thought his use of the ball up the field was poor enough, plunkett and McCormack or better with the ball but would anyone want to lose what Boyler does. The bottom line for me is everyone is contributing something and I think anyone in the 26 and beyond will do a job and we can’t ask or expect much more. Maigh Eo mo chroi

  85. Totally agree with you JP and I have always felt this would be Keith’s role this year. He has such a incredible centre of balance on the front foot that can leave oposition defenders routed to the ground. Horan clearly dosnt want to start EOD but he may have no choice now as rotation will be the order of the day from here on in however far we get. People may disagree with this however but I still haven’t seen enough from EOD.. sure last year he had one or two great defensive plays and scored a few nice points in the league but come championship under Rochford he simply didn’t full fill his early potential. But he is a young lad learning his trade and who knows maybe next week he will be put into the white heat of championship.. it might help resolve a few questions here as to where he is at.

  86. Those people longing for Cavan in tomorrow’s draw, should write off Cavan at your peril.

  87. Cavan will not be an easy draw. From the get-go they were driven and skilful against Donegal in the Ulster Final. Donegal had a ruthless game plan and strong disciplined players who squeezed Cavan in defence preventing them scoring. If Donegal’s defensive strategy had been anyway less tight the result would have been much closer. Cavan are very alert and can do damage. But having said, previous posters pointed out that the winners of the Cavan game are likely to land in a nicer position in the Super 8 grouping. Still not sure who to hope for. Not sure how I’d feel if we drew Galway. At least we know them!

  88. I don’t think anyone is suggesting Cavan will be an easy draw, but probably the best option for us, all things considered, including what would come down the line in the Super 8s if we were to get over Cavan. As for the Ulster final, Cavan were pulverised by Donegal, who won easily, dominated all over the pitch, and could, if they needed, have scored 3 or 4 more goals when they took fisted points — and botched another couple of goal chances as well. While that’s more about how good Donegal appear to be, with the help of a certain Rochford lad, than about how tough or not Cavan might be, well, they’re probably a better team than Meath, but then if we get Meath and beat Meath we then get a tougher Super 8s. Cork look to be a team on the up again, and about time, and no doubt feel still that they could have beaten us in that qualifier in Limerick a couple of years ago. But Galway definitely the worst draw for us: they have a serious point to prove after the second half of the Connacht final, they have the players to prove the point too (if the players more or less ignore the manager..) and have had the measure of a full-strength Mayo over the last few years

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