Paddy Durcan our MOTM from yesterday’s game

Photo: MichaelMaye.com

Right, it’s time to pull the shutters down on our final Man of the Match poll of 2019. At half-time in yesterday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin we had strong performers all over the field but, by the time the final whistle had sounded, all of the principal characters in this particular drama were wearing blue jerseys.

One man who stood tall for us throughout – as he’s done all year – was Paddy Durcan. Detailed to mark Jack McCaffrey (or was that the other way around?) Paddy completely eclipsed his opposite number and plundered two points from play into the bargain.

Is he our most important player right now? He’s certainly one of them. He’s also – for the second week running – the winner of this week’s Man of the Match poll, claiming 28% of all votes cast. Well done to Paddy and, indeed, to all the lads who battled so hard on a tough day for us at Croke Park yesterday.

135 thoughts on “Paddy Durcan our MOTM from yesterday’s game

  1. Well done Paddy,
    And well done to all who played in the semifinal and indeed to the entire panel and backroom team on a hard, battling year.

  2. Paddy had a good game and could well be in contention for an all star.

    For next year I think we need to really focus on winning Connacht first and foremost. That needs to be the primary aim of the year. I think we can still put in a good shift and do well enough next year even with a few retirements.

  3. Mayo will be back no doubt
    They have to stick together and 1 day the door will open
    We have great players and supporters managers etc but we are in a era when dubs are no doubt the greatest team of amateurs to ever play the sport and probably will win at least 6 all Ireland’s in a row
    And I’m a mayo man and it’s hard to keep coming back

  4. I’ve been at games for over 50 years. I have never seen anything like the 10 minutes after half time yesterday. We could have done this & that but what difference.? All I’ll say is I’m heartbroken for this group. How can anyone say they’ve failed? They have not. They’re part of the best Mayo group I’ve ever seen. They’re a magnificent bunch of men who it’s been my privilege to follow. I’ve spent my whole life supporting the county i love(as have my sons born in another county but who would die for Mayo).

  5. Paddy is simply ELITE now. First name down on the team sheet.

    Don’t really agree that’s it hard to keep coming back. What else are we going to do? Some lads will eventually step aside but there are others willing to step in and contribute.

    James and the lads will step up again next year and we’ll be there in our droves as usual.

  6. Rock……..you’ve just uttered the immortal line – ” what else are we going to do…”….You’re absolutely right…..we’ll always keep going… …always dust off and get stuck in again……..that’s the Mayo way and hopefully always will be……supporting our teams year on year has always been a great thrill…and privilege…….Long may that continue !

  7. Great Bunch of players & they will be back again next Jan, it’s tough when a team loses a big game but time is a good healer, they will be raring to go in a few short months with a fresher looking panel. They will be in the top eight.

  8. Good man Paddy. Super player amidst a great group of honest men. Think its time to stop whinging about all the advantages Dublin have. There is nothing new in that. Instead they should be respected as a fantastic team. A bigger gripe of mine is the system which requires a team to play 7 matches in 8 weeks and allows 7 days preparation for an AI Semi. What a joke way to treat amateur players. Anyway the traditionalists will be happy now with a Dublin Kerry final. How great How ideal for Dublin to beat Kerry for their fifth or alternatively for Kerry to finally stop the mighty dubs. Yawn. Finally and I know we really shouldn’t be speaking about this excuse for a man but the bespectacled Asal beag was at it again. He rehashes the same shite every year when we lose. In truth he is not fit to lace the boots of the great men from Mayo whom he criticises. He is really as he would say himself a celebrity loser who craves the affection of Jim Gavin and his team. He is one of the reasons why I rate sky coverage ahead of rte. He wailed last week when sky had exclusive coverage of Mayo v Donegal but the analysis of Canavan and Donaghy was so much better than the self serving tripe he spouts.

  9. Well done Paddy Durcan.

    And players died on Croke Parks hallowed turf.

    And died for what ?

    So someday, our own could oppress our own.

    The Gaa Big Boys.

    Shame, shame, shame.

    Oh Michael Collins.

    Where are you now ?

  10. Definitely well deserved Paddy Durcan MotM , and in my opinion the Mayo Player of the Year. . I think that both losing Semifinalist will receive only one All Star each, and I sincerely hope that Paddy Durcan get’s it for Mayo!

  11. For me Colm Boyle was Man of the Match. Paddy is a great player but he really has to get better at his accuracy at shooting and decision making of getting a good shooter like Cillian or James Carr on the end of the move.Missed 5 shots in the 2nd half.

  12. Are you for real TH? Paddy is a defender not a forward I’d say he’s averaging about 3 points a game not bad for a defender most of our forwards don’t even score that in a game or in 2 games.deserved man of the match

  13. Stuck in Clare (Paul) – I’ll tell you what happened to that bit of your earlier comment, which, by the way, was the first one you ever posted here. It was deleted and your second effort has now been deleted in its entirety. You see, commenting on here doesn’t work like other places online, i.e. you can’t appear out of nowhere and take a pop at people. What you posted – and attempted to do a second time – was a clear violation of the house rules which forbids comments attacking or picking fights with others. You would appear not to have read the house rules on comments (which are here). Please do so before posting comments here again.

  14. Two glimmers of hope this morning (and isn’t it the hope that kills us!) malachy clerkin has in the times interesting stats that both our starting and finishing line ups were younger that Dublin’s. Add that to James’ comments on bringing in more young players and the future is bright.
    I saw a few ex players there as supporters on Saturday and felt for them, like it or not a number of the present squad will be like them next year, and won’t have a Celtic cross, but that’s the harsh reality. Horan will move on and continue to re-build, he has no other choice.

  15. Didn’t have the heart to comment or vote before this but well done to Paddy. As many have already said, after last year leaving Newbridge, we never thought we would have had the adventure we did this year. Sadly it did not go too well but on reflection if our men had another weeks rest, it would have been a lot closer. Well done to them, we are proud of you. It will be sad to see some go but I will get myself ready again for Jan to back you wherever needed next year.

  16. Well done to Paddy and a massive, heart felt thank you to all the players and people behind the scenes for all yere effort and time all year.
    Thanks too to the main man WJ for this great forum. I don’t know when I last bought a newspaper and we flung the telly out years ago so I rely on this blog for so much and it’s brilliant.

    Up Mayo!

  17. Paddy Durcan was brilliant again on Saturday as he has all season long. I think in the 2nd half like the rest of team he was completely emptied from a gruelling schedule of matches. We’ll never know now but I can’t help but feeling that with a proper break between games that blitz in the 2nd half wouldn’t have happened. We may still have lost but I would say the result would have been a lot tighter. This is why it’s imperative we go all out to win Connacht next year. With an injection of younger players and better luck on the injuries front we will be better next year. There’s definitely enough quality in the younger generation to take on the baton from those that retire. This year’s run to the semi will have brought on the likes of Matthew Ruane, Fionn Mcdonagh and James Carr no end knowing they can thrive mixing it with the big boys. When the dust settles we can take consolation that with a so called team in transition we won a national title, came out of the group of death in the super 8s, took out some serious contenders in Galway and Donegal and gave Dublin a lesson of football for 35 mins with a hugely depleted and ultimately exhausted team and saw Tom Parsons play in the green and red again against all the odds. If you look at all the other rival counties we have more reasons to be optimistic for next season than most (except for Kerry and Dublin). That game on Saturday may just have been the catalyst to spur us on to one of our greatest seasons next year. I can’t wait.

  18. First off, well done to Dublin. While we put it up to them in the first half – which I don’t believe anyone they’ve met in the Championship has done anything close to that this year – they really blew us away with a 15 minute purple patch in the second half, to which we had no answer.
    Paddy definitely deserving of MOTM. A few other notable performances, with Boyler, Stephen Coen and Aido doing very well overall.
    Overall, despite the margin of defeat on Saturday, the season was probably better than most could have expected. A semi Final spot was perhaps a realistic target but beyond that I don’t think we could have expected much more from the season. Winning the League was a very pleasant surprise and the introduction of a number of younger players is quite positive.
    For those that are so keen to put nails in the Coffin of the Mayo team, its worth nothing that of the teams that started and that finished on Saturday, Mayo had the younger team. The future is bright.

    Up Mayo.

  19. Only coming around to commenting on here today. Lately, I’ve been forcing myself to take a day before really delving into the nitty gritty of our performances, good and bad.
    Paddy has has an outstanding year for us and is at the same level as Keegan was in 2016 & 2017. He is our standout defender now and has surpassed all others, including Keegan. To hold Walsh, McHugh and McCaffrey scoreless over 3 championship games PLUS to go and score 8 points from play while doing so, tells you all you need to know.

  20. Paddy Durcan to me is another Lee Keegan, give him a job and not alone does he carries it out he scores a few points for good measure.
    I think that we were a bit naive starting the second half, we knew Dublin would come out at a hundred miles an hour and should have packed our defence for 10 or 15 minutes to soak up the pressure, we may not have beaten them but the margin at the end would not be as great.
    In any event this is the best Mayo team that I have seen and will be remembered as such for a long time, they have filled Croke Park on each appearance and and the GAA compensates them by making them play an All Ireland semi final one week after a tough match beating Donegal the Ulster champions and don’t forget our trip to Limerick to contest an All Ireland semi a Munster venue v Kerry.
    Do you not think that if we had a two week break after the Donegal game that we would have come closer to Dublin.
    I am not a whinger just looking for a bit of fair play for our magnificent team.
    Our thoughts now should focus on Connaught and claim back our rightful place at the top by winning the Moclair cup.
    It is ironic to think that we have gone further in the championship than Galway or Roscommom when they won it ,how did we let this happen, surely we were the better team.
    Looking forward to next year and have every confidence that James will start building a new team as there will surely be some retirements as those lads have given their all to Mayo and deserve our utmost gratitude.

  21. Pebblesmeller
    You beat me to it, sums up paddy’s highlights perfectly. Deserved Motm and our best player this year. Cluxton actually made a balls of that one paddy dropped short early in the second half and got lucky with the way it fell.
    Anyway well done paddy, great game and awesome year.

  22. That’s not correct, Tommy. The odd time you do post a fair comment it does go on the site. When you don’t it doesn’t. This is also why you’re on moderation watch on an ongoing basis. Here’s a test for you – try really hard (and I mean really hard) to compose a fair-minded comment and see what happens when you try to post it. You might be pleasantly surprised.

  23. A few Random ponts.

    Congrats to Paddy on his well deserved MOTM..I can’t believe the poster above, who said that Paddy will need to improve his shooting..Show me another half back in the country, who scores 0-2 or 0-3, in practically every game ?

    Several people have said that we need to re establish our ”rightful place ” as top dogs in Connacht !!!
    We don’t have a right to be Connacht Champions, we have to earn it
    For the previous 3 years, we bemoaned the fact that we had to play an emerging Galway as the reason we had declined in Connacht.
    This year was different, Galway wouldn’t be met at the earliest, until the Connacht Final..Whether it was complacency or just incompetence on the night, we blew it against Roscommon, which of course sent us on another tour of Ireland, with detrimental consequences re wear and tear etc.
    Any failure to fully respect Galway or Roscommon next year, could well end in another back door tour.

    Many people have said, that we will be back next year..Of course we will be back, the same way as every other team will be back. Every year with Mayo is like a trip on an out of control train, with high profile matches, regular Croke Park appearances on the biggest day of all, All Star awards etc. But spare a thought for the footballers of counties like Sligo, Leitrim, Wicklow, Antrim and many others. Those lads often don’t see more than 2 Championship games per year, yet they keep coming back year after year for more. So, it shouldn’t be hard for the Mayo lads to rouse themselves to come back next year, apart of course, from a small number who may wish to retire.

  24. Well deserved Paddy – unreal performances the last three games he’s played for us. All Star form really. Both himself and Boyler actually.

    I think our hope was to hold them until the 50 mins then send for the bench. We probably couldn’t have managed it as they would have the legs but we could have been in the game at that stage. I think we missed 6 chances between 35 -50 mins some of which lead directly to scores (including the 1st goal) down the other end. In addition a couple of soft frees given away as well. So the lads will be a bit disappointed with that but they can’t be with the effort. Realistically our injuries and amount of games cost us.

    Regarding Dublin they produced a fantastic 15 mins spell but I saw some chinks on Saturday. Gavin played a blanket Tyrone would be embarrassed with in the first half – he does not trust his defenders one-on-one any more. Also the Dublin bench made no impact – fair enough they didn’t need to but they didn’t need to other years in games and still piled on the scores.

    Looking at the Dublin panel going forward they are an ageing team, in defence certainly and from the bench. Next year ages will be Cluxton (38); Brogan (36); O’Gara (34); Connolly, MDMA, McManamon (33); O’Sullivan, McMahon, Andrews (32); Fitzsimons, Byrne (31) and Rock, McCarthy, Cooper (30). Does that mean they are finished? Of course not but I’d expect between 4 – 8 of those lads to retire. They’d have all won at least 5 AI’s, most of them will have won 7. Will the hunger to go again be there after a five-in-a-row?

    Dublin’s defence these days is completely based around having possession therefore not getting exposed one-on-one. They are excellent from their own kickouts, they are brilliant at holding possession calmly around the middle and they perform a high press on opposition kickouts for periods to drive for home. If Cluxton goes it will effect them no doubt on kickouts, some of the other retirements will probably effect composure and ability to hold ball around the middle (we turned them over 11 times in the 1st half – so they can be got at). Opposition will have to figure out how to counteract their high press. Patton from Donegal, Beggan from Monaghan, Morgan from Tyrone and perhaps Robbie can go long enough to get over this – but you will need other tactics in my book.

    Obviously I’m not for a moment suggesting Dublin are finished or will be easily beaten. Any team with McCaffrey, MCarthy, Fenton, Rock, Mannion, Kilkenny and O’Callaghan going strongly would be up their as favourites for an AI. But my point is a few retirements, a small drop in performance levels by some of the remainder, an injury or two coupled with improvements by ourselves, Kerry, Donegal and suddenly the gap isn’t that big any more.

    Keep the faith. Up Mayo!

  25. If your referring to me Observer2, I suggest you read the fact based article. If he’s dropping 3 shots short then yes he does need to improve his shooting, scoring two is a conversion rate of 40%. ignoring that fact does no one any good. He’s one of the first name on our team sheet and has deservedly captained the side for much of the year and I am a big fan. However, can he be better? Can we be better? Yes is the answer to both questions and essentially we will win no all ireland until we address simple issues such as those I’ve highlighted. He’s a shoe in for an all star as he is excellent but with a bit of constructive positive change he could be player of the year in future

  26. This game was always going to be a step too far. Like it or not this Dublin team is the best of all time. But will it be next year???. I think we’ve had an excellent season, if theirs a couple of retirements so be it, theirs still a serious nucleus in that team, with maybe more additions to come. You have to hand it to Horan, every year he’s in charge its a semi at least. Very much lived up to his “consistently competitive” philosophy.

  27. Just wondering when are the club games starting up again (Championship) and where Could one get a list of the fixtures. Who do ye reckon are the
    Players to watch out for that can add to the Mayo panel? maybe Orme from Knockmore Irwin? Jack Reilly, will Cian Hanley step up this year, maybe Gary Boylan not that he’s left Soccer will be back? It’s almost time to look forward again

  28. Mayo Dunphy .Even during James’absence they were getting to semi finals and finals.Not knocking James as I fully respect him as a manager but ultimately its down to a savage band of players with a powerful collective will to perform at the highest level.I think he instilled this in them during his first term and they carried the mantle.It was evident in the way Mc Entee spoke about them last week on the podcast.
    I was actually surprised at the age stats for the game on Saturday..Didnt realise how many of the Dublin lads were over 30..They never really delve into it that much in the media..surprisingly.??

  29. Tommy – Now you’re starting to annoy me. If you think you’re going to be allowed to use this site to insult me – on top of trash-talking named players – then you are seriously mistaken. Look, you know the rules for commenting here so either follow them or else sling your hook. I’m not wasting any more of my time on you.

  30. We have to try more inside forwards its as simple as that,There was no movement in our full forward line in the 2nd half Saturday and we only got 2 points from play of it ,we have no Paul Mannion ,David Clifford or Con O’Callaghan.But who are the best young inside forwards in Mayo?? Horan really needs to scan the County again in the upcoming Club championships , another thing we have is very few players from the County in the Sigerson scene in the last 2 years, which is a big sign we are lacking talent coming through.Some players who should be looked at!!
    Tommy Conroy The Neale
    Ryan O’Donoghue Belmullet
    Kuba Callaghan Ballagh
    Liam Irwin Breaffy
    Darren McHale Knockmore
    Paul Towey Charlestown
    Jack Reilly Charlestown
    James Shaughnessy Claremorris
    Colm Moran Westport
    Aidan Orme Knockmore

  31. don’t believe Dublin are so exceptional. TV analysis is “go with the flow entertainment”. At least 5 of the stars of our team were missing or completely undermined by injury effects, and all had tired legs for second half – at least non-Dublin panellists insisted on that but too briefly. Like Tyrone yesterday tiredness in the legs reduces accuracy as well as everything else. Both Kerry and Dublin are the narcissists in this system because over the years they have developed that key ingredient of a sense of “entitlement” and when both smelled weakness in the second half they transformed. Would love to see fully-fit Ruane and Parsons available for a dynamic midfield next year, Hon Mayo.

  32. So proud of this team…. the future is bright even if a few retire… our fall off in the 2nd half must be partially attributed to our tired legs and minds have played just 7 days earlier… We showed how to unsettle Dublin in 1st half – we just couldn’t sustain it – yes, Dublin upped the ante and we would have conceded several scores but nothing like the 2-6 … very few media pundits acknowledging this which is annoying…
    The biggest shame was that we didn’t feed ball into full forward line early enough, in the 1st half… I think Carr can become our McShane…

  33. Im sure there will be more suitable threads to review year as a whole but i want to vent…
    I was more circumspect about things on Saturday night,I must say im feeling a bit glum about things this morning.

    Ultimately rightly or wrongly the goal for this team has been winning an all-ireland, and as the decade draws to a close it seems we are as far away as we were in 2011 when Horan took over.

    There will be some retirements over the winter, either voluntary or enforced and i think the rebuild will ramp up over next 2-3 years. We need to cast the net wide for a new goalkeeping option, we had another meltdown in that position on saturday (i appreciate that has as much to do with the outfielders as the goalie)

    We are firmly back in the chasing pack now, lets face it we have no business in an AI Final having lost 3 games in a championship. Cant really complain about schedule when it was self-inflicted with that awful defeat to Roscommon, we were blessed to beat Armagh too and got an awful hiding off Kerry.

    There were some great highs too, taking out Galway and Donegal was a massive buzz and a first national title in years was a massive achievement. Ultimately though the championship was probably a 7/10, definitely a feeling of ‘end of an era’.

    Maybe its just the monday blues talking though

  34. Paddy is some player, lynch-pin of our team for the next 5 years and strong favourite for captain next year in my book. But it must acknowledged that the few balls dropped short did contribute to the accelerated downfall on Saturday, even though I think nothing was going to stop Dublin in that second half.
    Its a consistent failing in 35 years watching Mayo that when the pressure comes on our shooting falls apart, and was sadly even evident among the minors on Saturday. I don’t believe this is an inherent flaw in Mayo footballers as some of my colleagues living in Galway would have me believe, however do we as a footballing culture value that art of structured practice in how we train footballers from a young age? The muscle memory from repeated and continual practice means that when that gameday comes around the simple skills are less likely to desert a player under pressure. Having not played in Mayo in 25 years I’d be interested to know the thoughts any of you involved day to day in club football in Mayo have on this? When I played training involved a dis-organised kick-about, followed by runs and sprints, passing / tackling / attacking defending drills and finishing with a game where you may or not try to focus on a particular skill or goal, but after u10 I’d say I never once encountered pure shooting skills practice, and I fear it may still be the case?

  35. @Regina, yeah ur bang on there, thats what i ment, as in he instilled it into them in 2011. He really came along at the right time and brought an awful lot of the team we see now through.

    I dunno about the rest of ye, but i’ve gotten over this one already, maybe it was the nature of the defeat and just seeing that Dublin team in top flight, and realising nothing is gunna stop them. Sometimes its easier to take a 10 point loss as opposed to a 1 point. Without speculating on names, I see 1 definite retirement, and possibly 3 others. I think we could handle a max of 4 players departing. We will have the whole of fbd and league to work on the new players coming through in 2020. All our injured players are back. Bar Jason, so club football will sharpen them up before next season.

  36. It’s taken a few days to get over the disappointment . I’m more disappointed for the players than anything. But I want to thank them for a great year. If anyone said that we would win the league and got to the All Ireland semi finals at the start of the year, I would have said you’re mad. We have unearthed new players which was badly needed and we will unearth more next year. This is a process that will take time and we all have to be patient.The character and heart shown by this panel over the year was mind boggling and they are to be commended for it. It’s a huge commitment nowadays and my admiration to all the sacrifices these lads give to represent us some people tend to forget.
    The first half display the last day was just awesome. The lads gave absolutely everything. I was afraid of the first ten minutes after halftime and unfortunately they blitzed us. Would have loved if one of the lads went down to break their momentum but maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference. There was a certain club team where I live when things weren’t going their way would deliberately start a fight and would invariably play better. I by no means condoning what they did but I am just giving an example of what certain teams would do to get themselves going.
    Finally thanks WJ for the blog, it’s brilliant especially during the summer, it’s sets the tone for the games and for me reading it before games builds up the excitement and the craic before the games.

  37. Reading between the lines i think Horan will dictate some retirements .It has to be done & he must be ruthless.Some other guys will be dropped & we will start over again.-

  38. Not wanting to speculate on who may or may not call it a day, I still find myself looking forward with optimism to where we might go in the next few years. Looking at this years panel and some names from recent underage teams I attempted to put together a list or players still under 30 by position. Included Doc even though he is unlikely to play before next years championship. I’m sure there are many glaring omissions, and obviously the likes of DO’C could just as easily end up at midfield, but nonetheless plenty to build on.

    1.Slingerman Flanagan O’Malley
    2.O’Donohue Mullin
    3.Harrison Cunniffe Crowe
    4.Coen Drake
    5.McCormack Akram Lambert
    6.Keegan Plunkett Horan
    7.Durkin McLoughlin
    8.A. O’Shea
    9.Ruane
    10.McDonagh Boland J. Durkin
    11.Doherty* Loftus R. O’Donohue
    12.DOC Treacy Hanley Murray
    13.COC Conroy C.Moran Orme
    14.Coen Reape L.Irwin
    15.Carr Diskin Regan Reilly

  39. Where have we heard and seen that before ‘ keep the faith ‘, I first saw this in Croker after the 1989 All Ireland, we have been keeping the faith ever since, but some of the same old failings keep arising.
    Kerry got 5 points in 1st half v Tyrone yesterday, the Dubs had 6 points on the board at the end of the 1st half, doesn’t those two figures look similar, and look what happened in both second halves.
    Out of Mayos’ 1 -10, defenders scored the majority, with also a few from free kicks, what did the starting forwards get from play ?, or was this a mistake that too many middle players were selected from the start instead of out and out forwards ?
    There was a time when Mayo blitzed all opposition in Connacht and up to All Ireland Quarter final stage, 2012, 13, 14 and 15, what has happened since then ?
    As brilliant as Mayo were in the 1st half ( this looked better as the Dubs sat back and soaked up the pressure ) our middle area fell apart in the second half, in the first 10 minutes after the restart, this also happened in the second half of the 2015 replayed semi final, but bear in mind 1 player got an unfair black card.
    The Dubs tricked Mayo in that 1st half performance into a false sense of security, they sat back, defended and invited Mayo forward, ie, this is how we are going to set up today, they caught Mayo off guard / caught us cold for the first 5 minutes of that second half.
    I am not a Sports Scientist, but my work involved alot of close detail, I now wonder what actually happens in the dressing rooms / training room at halftime, do both teams sit down, cool down, do they get leg massages or they take part in a staying warm routine on their feet for the full break ?
    Getting goals has been in short supply on the big days in Croker, and any goal was usually got by a defender, Lee Keegan with one or two from Andy Moran. Goals have killed Mayo in the finals of 12, 13, 16 and again last Saturday.
    After a defeat, we go back to the same principles, wondering where there is new talent to strengthen the team, we have seen this many times. The reality is good players and go, and the new boys fill the vacancies and everything gets pumped up, we all get excited, get to a final and fall down.
    One thing for sure, we need to see Dublin decline before even thinking about contesting and winning the All Ireland, Kerry will be here now also to compete for a few years.

  40. I hope nobody retires. Andy has loads to offer and shouldn’t be told/forced to think about it. I don’t care what age he is, he is still a force to be reckoned with so it’s up to him to look at his personal life and see if he can keep it all going. Not us here or anyone else, only him and his family. As for the rest of our warriors I saw nothing to suggest they need to retire. Playing great football so again it’s not up to fans to speculate, it’s the players own business.

    Hopefully the whole inter county schedule is tweaked. Reward of a rest of a week or two after getting through qualifiers(hope we win Connacht and avoid them though) and again a break of two weeks between super 8’s and Semi’s. A joke. Yes I know we could have avoided qualifiers by beating Ros and tough grueling game against Donegal if we beat Kerry the first week BUT we were tired after the qualifiers and big Galway game. Same again this Saturday, tired after the big Donegal game. It’s the GAA that is the problem not looking after its players welfare.

    I would love to have seen Mayo get a pop at Dublin after two weeks rest. Yes Dublin are pretty special but we are most definitely not 10 points the worse team. We are also a special team. Normally we have legs on everyone. It’s the squashed unfair schedule that it the problem. There needs to be more reward for getting through each stage by giving a week or two’s break at the minimum. Apart from that maybe some amalgamation of league and championship where league results go towards groupings later, although maybe that would put more pressure on our amateurs. I don’t know what the answer is but something needs to change. Unfair. Too condensed esp when coming through the qualifiers. Final needs to go back to when it always was in September even from a school promotion of the games aspect.

    Anyway all I want to say is we never got a fair pop at a Dublin this weekend. In our heads and hearts we were all worried about the tired legs and heads going into the game. I’m so proud of our team and I blame the GAA for sending them into the gladiator ring unrested.

  41. With all the possession we had in first half- we didn’t put enough pressure on Dublin full back line. Dublin were happy enough to sit back and let us pass the ball back and over. Kerry will have a totally different approach in final. They will put Clifford, Walsh and Geaney inside and drive the ball in first time and go for goals. While we don’t have forwards of that calibre – we had enough big men to try and unsettle the full back and Cluxton.

  42. To be honest I’m sure Dublin knew we would run out of gas and were happy to let us tire ourselves out in that first half. But I do think we would have stayed with them for far longer if rested in a fair schedule. I don’t know if we would have had enough to win but most definitely not a 10 point drubbing.

  43. Forgot to say Thanks WJ for all your work with the blog ..
    Reckon ya would have to shoot Andy to get him off the panel
    Tom Parsons would not burst himself this year to get back if he didn’t have an eye on next year.

  44. Dunno I think Dublin played pretty defensively in the 1st half as they knew it was possible they could get exposed. Often played 15 men in their own half. This meant long balls in were probably covered/get crowded out and aimless running from deep would get swallowed up. We did the right thing and were patient. We were very efficient in the 1st half. Dublin had no choice but to let loose in the second half and take a few more risks. They went more direct and were more open at the back and pressed high on our kickouts. For those who don’t believe they were more open in that period until Leroys goal, from our little possession I think we got 6 shots at points away. They all dropped short/wide. Dublin on the other hand were awesomely efficient, that was a major difference. As some have pointed out lack of energy/tiredness does lead to more misses but still some disappointment there from the lads no doubt.

  45. I dont think there is any point in continuing the whinging about the gaps between matches as Mayo didnt win Connaught so set themselves up for a hard slog in the current championship format and you cant blame Dublin for that. Honestly folks Mayo were probably lucky to get away with a 10 point beating on Saturday evening.

  46. There is a point because it should change. Might be a different county it happens to next year. It’s not fair and it did impact.

  47. You know that the whole structure is totally unfair…Pat Spillane was saying that it was great to see Cork back in the Super Eight’s and competing, good for football in Munster and good for football in Ireland…This is absolutely rubbish, Cork only had to beat Limerick and Laois to get there… and Lost all three games including at home to Roscommon. ..Only Ulster and Connacht are competitive, any one of Donegal, Tyrone, Monaghan or Armagh could win Ulster next year, and you could make a case for either Cavan or Down, if they stay away from the hard side of the Draw and the big boy’s knock the stuffing out of each other…. And any one of Roscommon, Galway and Mayo could easily win Connacht next year… Munster is in effect as much of a one horse race as Leinster… But Pat Spillane want’s the GAA Public to believe otherwise….. Two Big defeat’s for Mayo in the Championship, Both came after we have had very hard game’s the week before, and of course we had Injurys, in Killarney, no doubt about it, but AOS and Lee Keegan were not 100% going into the match, against Dublin, Diarmuid O Connor, was back but far from his best, Matthew Ruane contributed? much more but I think he could play better if he had more time to recover from a broken collar bone. Jason Doc was out, Lee Keegan still looks to have ankle trouble. .. That’s the scar’s of war that Mayo had to carry into battle, conciderable you might say… And a very very high price for loosing to Roscommon, but there is the difference between Connacht/Ulster and Leinster/Munster… Kerry and Dublin will easily win their respective Provincial titles next year making it 9 in a row for Both of them, and all the subsequent comparative advantage with that in comparison to their Connacht and Ulster Rival’s.. . And as for the ‘DRIVE for FIVE’ for Dublin, their was hardly any DRIVING done at all… Only a second string drove to the ‘Coma in Omagh’ and very little driving of any description was done for the enivatable ‘FIVE’ ‘SIX’ ‘SEVEN’ almost no driving need’s to be done… When Kilkenny were actually doing their ill fated ‘DRIVE for FIVE’ and ‘DRIVE for FOUR’ before that, they did actually have to ‘DRIVE’ a fair bit.. For Dublin it’s totally different, they can stay at home in a Neutral/Home Venue paid for by the entire Nation of the GAA fan’s paying at the turnstile and at the Petrol Pump….More like a Monarchy than a Republic you might think ..Then again the Minister for SPORT, TranSPORT, & Peace in North Korea’ Lord Shane Ross is doing his best to make it as hard to for anyone living in the country to Drive anywhere…. With the Manderians running the GAA, Lord Shane Ross and his ilk, the muted silence and the servitude of so many County Board’s (honerable exception of Donegal) Another ‘Coranation’ awaits Sept First in the Neutral/Home Venue for the already crowned Monarchy of All Ireland…. Only this time, it won’t be the ‘Kingdom’ being crowned’

  48. I dont understand the rush to finish up the matches so quickly when usually the weather is good in September and matches could play right out to end of the month. Its the people who vote for these changes who should shoulder the blame for the scheduling.

  49. With all the talk on here about Kerry forwards, they’re still 9/2 to beat Dublin in the final. The exact same price we were last Monday. Ya can talk about 1989 or Mayo lacking forwards all ya want, the fact is Dublin are unbeatable at present no matter what type of team you have. When Kerry are massacred in this final, some might look back and realise, ya know what, we did ok against them!.

  50. Agree JR, there will be 6 to 8 of the squad that won’t be there, whether by retirements or like Caff not being selected. Some guys just don’t have the energy anymore that is required.

  51. Do Ye not think James Carr and fionn mcdonagh can be top forwards . 100% they can .

    I’d hazard a guess it took some serious sacrifice and dedication to get into the shape con o calaghan has got himself into . I’d guess he was lifting weights all pre season , eating massive portions of right foods last two years .

  52. Not so sure Kerry will be massacred as they have pedigree in finals but the will have to do something different in swepper role
    Just on us , when we were beating by Longford it was probably our lowest place, J H came in and a year later we were beaten in Semi by Kerry , which is similar to this year
    For the next 3 years I think we were the best team in the country but never got over the line
    Questions now is can JH do it again, we all hope so, I’m putting 100 Euro bet on us for next year so I’m convinced we can
    Thanks for the blog WJ see you all next year

  53. I agree completely with Sinead37’s analysis here. I also think a fully rested Mayo would have been a sterner test for Dublin. Dublin might be good, even awesome, with high standards, but Mayo are capable of containing them.

    I for one was in awe of Mayo’s first half defensive performance, must of which went on right before my eyes under the Nally Stand. I don’t care whether Dublin soaked it up or not – they were rattled and put to the pin of their collars. Keegan was laser eyed on O’Callaghan. Mayo defenders were double tagging Dublin players at times and the ball was being stripped. AOS was very effective rampaging forward. I could hardly believe my eyes when the youngster Mattie Ruane – our greyhound – was getting stuck in hard into tackles. The greyhound turned octopus – he was fearless. I must say I really think he is a special player.

    Far up the other end the youngster James Carr was running at the Dublin full back line. They couldn’t lay a finger on him and he helped himself to a point. These men are made of the right stuff.

    Dublin players took at least three pot shots in that opening half – probably more. I chuckled to myself in delight – this was a vindication of what we can do to their play. When do we ever see them shoot outside a definite scoring chance?

    I always knew it was a high energy strategy and it was a little lacking in full rounded polish but my goodness those men were great! I was speechless that they had it in themselves to come out like that 7 days after a game with Donegal with little real prep for a semi final. Mayo are and were awesome. I care less today about that second half blitz although I’m still feeling its aftershock. Kerry themselves can put teams to the sword offensively. Dublin showed they can too. But defences have a say too. And this is one of Mayo’s strengths.

    The schedule is a player welfare issue and the GAA must adjust. Yes, Mayo lost against Roscommon but that doesn’t mean they lose rights to decency of conditions.

    The game on Saturday is not a definite statement on Mayo’s standard versus Dublin. How could it be? Logic says so – it’s not a comparison of two teams under the same preparation conditions, in terms of time. Having said that Dublin have gotten better offensively.
    I said it already but our team has lots of class.

  54. Posted yesterday on this; James Carr is a superstar in the making, but we’ve got to utilise him. I was right ‘on him’ for the first half. He won everything, scored a great point, but had little support when he won his ball. Movement as much as anything else is what we need to work on. I’ve noted in a lot of matches, players playing themselves into trouble, putting up a tremendous fight to hold on and losing it because of little support or movement alongside them.

  55. Forgot to add: well done Paddy!

    And as for the rest of them (and us!). I second this message that the County Board tweeted yesterday:

    “Thanks lads, you gave us another rollercoaster of a season, your commitment can never be faulted. Also thanks to the great Mayo support who always follow this team. From New York to Croker & plenty more in between you can always be counted on”.

  56. Paddy is a nailed on All Star, irrespective of a few missed pot shots. He blotted our McCaffrey and has been a constant threat going forward in the championship.

    Dublin will crush Kerry in the final, and maybe then some of those in the GAA hierarchy will realize that urgent reform is needed, won’t hold my breath though.

  57. The lack of a break between the Super 8s and semi final obviously had some effect on Mayo but people need to stop making out that this is the sole reason we lost and basically it’s all the GAA’s fault. We were not beaten in the final few mins of the game, this wasn’t an injury time win for Dublin, we were beaten from minute 35 to 40, that’s all it took. Overall I think we had a good year considering the amount of injuries we had to endure.
    Those suggesting that there be no retirements, we can still do it, “keep the faith” etc would need a reality check. Fact is we have been absolutely destroyed by the only other realistic contenders for All Ireland in Kerry and Dublin, that tells us where we are at this moment and it’s well off where we were in 2017. Of course there will be retirements and sadly there will be forced retirements, Horan will be ruthless in the coming months he has no other choice. There is the basis of another team there, Ruane, McDonagh, Carr, Plunket, McCormack will be massive players in the years to come. AOS, Leeroy, Durcan, O’connors, will still be there, but some panel players and some first team players will not be back next year, room has to be made for the next generation. Focus next year has to be Connacht, build a team capable of competing in 2021, I do believe the talent is there in the county but it will take time, the Mayo4sam brigade needs to give Horan time to build again.

  58. Sean Burke..theres a picture of him online from.two years ago and present day under the caption “When you change from coco pops to porridge”!!The transformation is staggering..Weights morning,noon and night.

  59. Paddy Durcan MOTM, I dont think so.! Very poor 2nd half, shots dropped short/wide, being turned over, led to Dublin scores. I thought Colm Boyle was our best, and young James CARR had a great game.Felt sorry for the subs that never got a chance,especially Darren Coen, just wonder if he could have done any better.We need to be getting scores from our inside forward line on a regular basis.

  60. I don’t buy the Kerry resurgence. They have 4 top drawer players Clifford, Geaney, O’Brien and S’O’Shea the rest of their team is average at best. Tyrone could and probably should have beaten them. I believe Dublin will beat them comfortably even though Kerry will be a fresher team than Mayo with the 3wk break…

  61. Catcol agreed on James Carr…

    We should be looking at building the team around that lad in the league, he has only shown flashes so far but he is young, the talent is there and his ceiling is massive.
    They really didnt use him enough in first half when he had fitzsimons on toast.
    He is tall, quick, 2 footed and accurate. Not the finished package but look how much guys like Con Callaghan and Mannion have improved from their rookie year.
    We need to back him to the hilt as we are lacking that type of a dynamic forward for years now

  62. Interesting ‘Chris Kelly’ and ‘Paul’ – good lists of players…
    You could add McGreal (Claremorris), O’Brien (Ballinrobe), Henry (Mayo Gaels), Walsh (Castlebar Mitchels) and as you say, probably a fair number of others.
    Key to this speculation is a willingness by these men to put in the time, the hard work, discipline, take the knock backs – jump up again, and make so many social and other sacrifices for the honour of playing for Mayo.
    The County Board has to put the resources into giving those that do every chance of making it. I believe that Dublin, Kerry, Tyrone having being doing this better than us in recent years. JH is providing leadership in this regard, but he has to insist on further resources and specialist development coaches to make sure we do it at least as well (and hopefully better) as the so-called elite teams. Conversion to top senior inter-county player is key and it needs the best possible structure to succeed.
    The current strong North-Mayo connection with his backroom team also needs to forensically search through all clubs, in the northerly half of the county especially in those clubs that don’t traditionally contribute so much to the county production line. After all, strategic thinking beats wishful thinking any day!

  63. simple answer mayodunphy yes they are .
    you can read it on the GAA website and i have heard players mention it in articles and interviews as well

  64. Ah here lads, those allegations about doping are baseless and beyond the pale tbf (not to mention libellous)

  65. Steady on, Supermac! There was no allegation made to that effect at all. A question was posed and it was answered. An allegation was made to that effect alright after our match against Dublin on Saturday but was deleted when I came across it.

  66. I think our league campaign should be contested by players no older than 25 yrs. So what if we drop to D2. We must blood the young bucks. I want to endorse everything positive that has been said about our great team. Thank you WJ for a tremendous blog.

  67. I was at the game yesterday. McShane was brilliant and went through Kerry at will, I winced thinking what O’Callaghan will do to Morley/Foley. Mayo are much better than Kerry in the full back line. The other thing I loved about McShane is the sheer amount of runs he makes. Dublin inside forward line are constantly darting around before the ball comes in. To be fair Mayo are very strong in this department also, especially Andy Moran, Doherty and D Coen(hope he was injured as otherwise cannot fathom how he didn’t get a run).
    I watched Clifford and Geaney and to be honest their work rate without the ball was poor, they popped them over but only after the goal when Tryone were chasing the game. I fully expect the dubs to win this one handy.
    I think with all players fit the Connacht championship will be brilliant next year, Galway players fit, Mayo players fit and the panel evolving and Ross will improve under Cunningham in year 2.

  68. Long-time reader – very infrequent poster. Those 15 2nd half minutes on Saturday were hard to take. From a sense of real hope and ‘what if’ at half time, all our hopes were pulverised in a few short minutes. We had no answer. I think Billy Joe is among the best analysts out there. While Kerry might get closer to Dublin than we did, the win will be equally as comfortable and Dublin can win by any margin they like. They are an unbelievable team. While we’ll still be at the top table next year, my view is that the chance of an All-Ireland for this team is well and truly gone with a period of rebuilding well in place. Personally, I’d love to see a testimonial type match for whoever retires this year. It’d pack out McHale Park. Imagine the crowd you’d get to potentially give our thanks to the likes of Clarke, Barrett, Higgins, S O’Shea and of course Andy. It’d be some occasion.

    Couple of comments. AOS has had an unbelievable year and is our lynchpin. While Durkin and others are very important, AOS in my view determines how well we do. I thought the strength of his performances all year were based on his discipline in staying in the defensive half of the field providing the platform to everyone else. It worked best when he had Mattie Ruane beside him. On Saturday from my vantage point, he was everywhere in the 1st half box-to-box and was brilliant but I couldn’t help think he couldn’t keep that up. He has so many strengths but he doesn’t have the athleticism to maintain that over 70mins like a Fenton. Maybe next year with a fully fit Ruane/DOC, he can preserve energy in Croker to be as effective as he can over the full 70/80 mins.

    Having read the excellent piece in the Irish Times with Chris Barrett at the weekend you really had to admire his dedication but also wonder how anyone can be expected to hold down a decent job in Dublin, be married and play for Mayo. I’ll never know how he manages to perform at the level he does while doing all the travel and work. God help him if kids come along! It got me thinking though that we have enough big companies in Mayo that could employ these lads in their respective fields on competitive salaries allowing them to live in the county and benefit from the lifestyle Dublin players can enjoy. You’d have to imagine it could make a huge difference to the work/life/sport balance of our players.

  69. Just a further comment to make you all feel better, to the hugh Mayo support who travelled to CP on Saturday; well large % of your well earned cash will be going to keeping Dublin great. Isn’t that a nice thought!

    On our own house!
    We can’t be a Dublin, we should not try, but we certainly can be a Kerry w.r.t structures, right from underage to senior level.

    For God sake! ‘County Board’ put our warriors on a level playing field or let someone who has the ability to identify the problems and the resolve to solve them take control. We are losing young players to soccer and rugby at an alarming rate and not a word about. In addition Why is it that if your born into certain areas it determines your chances of playing county football. This should not be the case, James carr is the exception and the first player from Ardagh to play senior county. Until we fix these issues we are not going to win All-Irelands and the longer it going on the harder it becomes as the tradition is not there and young guys will say why should I commit 100% In Kerry a young fellow is more likely to commit because Kerry win All-Ireland’s on average 1 in every three years. Don’t have to invent the wheel here just copy and paste Kerry’s structure and make it work in Mayo! Mark my words then and only them will Mayo be consistently real contenders and not lucky to get an exceptional bunch to come along like the players we have now.
    Folk out there who are real Mayo supporters, their heart are in the right place know this to be case. I’m asking the supporters to organise and fight for the players NOW!
    Keep doing the same things and the same results will continue.

  70. I wasn’t insinuating anything Mayomad, just a question as its an amateur sport I wasn’t sure. Thanks for answering Roger Milla.

    Just re-watched the game there, Diarmuid was well off the pace throughout (which is understandable). Stephen Coen was brilliant and has developed into a nailed on starter imo, 2 games in a row now he’s chipped in with a score, starting to see why he’s so highly thought of in UCD. I remember speaking with an ex panel member in December 2012, he sporke about the dressing room after the loss to Donegal, and how the players were asking Ed Coughlan “How do we become as big as them?” They felt over-powered by Donegals physicality. The following year the Mayo team was seriously bulked up and they blew teams away!. Basically, id expect us to be really focused on on building up our speed and explosiveness over this winter, their no reason the likes of Carr, McDonagh, Ruane and Coen can’t be put on individual programmes to achieve this. James is well clued in and always evolving training methods, so I really see a faster and fitter team lining out next season.

  71. i was at game yesterday too and if kerry defend like that against dublin they will get annihilated, look at all the trouble they had dealing with cathal mcshane who nearly beat them on his own. What will mannion and con do to them

    They definitely have the forwards to hurt them,and in David Moran the only midfielder in the country who comes close to fenton but their work rate and intensity in the tackle is badly lacking

    They will kick a big score but i would expect another 10+victory for dublin based on that

  72. While retirements are inevitable none of us know how many there will be..Dont think players need to be named just because some might think its their time to go..

  73. Agree with MaigheogoDeo – there are plenty of good companies in Mayo that should be able to provide work and a career path for our county players – regardless of profession chosen. This should be one of the jobs of our commercial manager – match the skills of our players with relevant companies. Unsustainable what CB, SOS etc are doing commuting to and from Dublin.
    I fully accept that certain players might prefer to work in Dublin and elsewhere – but every effort should be made to get jobs in the county for players that want them.

  74. Some great comments in there now , realistic stuff.

    Club structure has to change , you cannot justify a lad from an exclusive junior club parish not getting the chance to ever play senior football , he will never thrive . Will be odd exceptions but in the main it’s a no brainier , a few regional sides , sin e.

    James Carr , has got what it takes , this guy reallly needs to be guided, advised and looked after to maximise on his ability.

    Wishing for no retirements is back to the airy fairy romantic stuff. There has to be retirements .

    I found our minors very disappointing yesterday , tactically poor , the reluctance to just let the ball travel with the big wind was pure daft .

  75. Good shout @mayodunphy. Dublin have taken physique and physicality to a new level. Apart from Aido and Donal we don’t have any obvious monsters physically. I thought the game was moving away from the Swartzenneger mindset towards a more skills-based approach as the defensive blanket is abandoned, but Dublin don’t seem to think so. Need to double down on the protein and creatine this winter.

  76. Retirements? I reckon we could see as many as eight retirements this winter. I feel the big thing keeping a lot of these lads going was the hope of winning an All Ireland medal. With the return of James Horan that hope was reignited but now that prospect seems to be running out for a number of the lads. In addition it is hard for experienced players to kill themselves training to just sit on the bench and only get a few minutes now and again. Then there are the pressures of work and home life. I could well understand if some of the lads chose to call it a day.
    I reckon this is indeed the end of an era. In truth that end probably came when Tom Parsons and Seamie O Shea suffered bad injuries against Galway in Castlebar and we ended up being beaten by Kildare. The fact that we managed to get to half time against the Dubs this year in an AI semifinal is nothing short of extraordinary.

  77. Agree with all of that @diehard, sentiment prevents me from wanting to see retirements, but there’s a lot of sense in what you’re saying.

  78. Not a chance their’ll be 8 retirements. Id expect 4 at the max. Im not for one second questioning players commitment here, but their is a lot of advantages being a footballer for a top team these days. Cars, jobs, sponsorship deals, personal appearances at events etc. I’ve never seen a modern top County player struggling financially re mortgages etc (though im sure their are exceptions). These boys get mileage and rightly so. But most of all, theirs an ingrained desire and ambition to be County players, its what set them apart in there teens, they worked so hard to get where they are, they won’t throw in the towel because they lost a game to the best team of all time.

    When the final is over, and the players are well rested while back with playing with clubs, thoughts will soon turn to 2020, that ingrained desire will kick in again. They wouldn’t be where they are without it.

  79. Diehard – why should there be retirements? Collectively anyway. These guys are exceptional, have been written off umpteen times and come back for more. Who was our best player in the championship? Debatable, but for my money, Boyler. Yet most people would have had him as an impact sub. Andy didn’t start a lot, but by God he finished a lot! They’ll go, but in dribs and drabs, which will be just fine from a team developmental aspect.

    Big Mike – good points there and good win for Galway minors BTW. On Darren Coen, I suspect the view is that his strength/conditioning/overall fitness might not have been adequate for the Dubs, but he’s a guy we need to develop physically to the max.

  80. Sean Burke you talk alot of sense too much Romance attached to the Mayo supporters, I suppose this is understandable given our near misses on All Ireland day.
    Anybody on this blog that played the game knew when they were day was up, not nice when you know that you are on the way down, look at all the great Mayo players that have come and gone, this is just the way it is.
    I read Chris Barrett’s piece on Google News, the journey for training and games from Dublin to Mayo and back twice a week sounds frightening. This is the way it is for many West of Ireland Counties, Kerry to a lesser extent being so close to Cork City, also Galway. Kids that are born in Mayo go to College and find work mainly in Dublin ( like myself now exiled in the Big Smoke ).
    Should the Mayo County Board do better to keep the Senior panelists as close to Mayo as possible, I think they could.
    Back in the late 1990 / early 2000’s the Mayo Board included Junior amalgamated clubs in the Senior championship whereby South, North, West and East Mayo each fielded a team, I wonder was this a success in bringing on players from the smaller clubs ( a few have now gone altogether ). I remember meeting a few locals after the 2004 All Ireland final and they were saying that there too many players from Intermediate and Junior clubs on the Mayo Senior team.
    Growing up in South Mayo in the 1980’s, alot of club players got jobs with the ESB or P&T as as it was known then.
    After years of trying Mayo cannot get over the line,
    Need to start winning at Schools, underage level and keep the players on board.

  81. I’m sorry about your ingrained desire but you’re not a member of the county panel no longer will have to be said. If they don’t hang up the boots they will have to be pushed , we cannot keep this team going any longer it’s just completely futile to the progress of Mayo football . We have to sit it out for at least two shit years whilst properly rebuilding , suffer relegation or whatever else comes with it for the greater good . Then we should be ready to challenge again . I’m not convinced James Horan is tactically clever enough to win an all Ireland perhaps he needs another guy along with him.

  82. First time poster here I am a true blue Dublin gaa fan can I say this . Joe brolly lives among you and he say the meanest things about a team of warriors the likes of which any county would be proud to have. Yet he writes them off year after year . Say anything enough and eventually you will be right. So I’ll say this there pinball likelihood be no epic finals semis and replays with mayo and there mostly humble fans no color and noise like ye bring . Mayo alway spend money in capital and if ye are gone I say this honestly we will miss her old heads . To bury valiant warriors in the dirt of a semi final without acknowledgment that ye were the most worthy of adversarys would he a disgrace . Dont fold we were once started like earwigs it was the making of us.

  83. It’s up to the players who want to retire given great service to Mayo also they given us great enjoy ment this year .

  84. It’s not just about players still been able to offer something , I’m sure you could still squeeze gooch into the Kerry panel but he retired to make way for youth . For goodness sake stop with the clingy stuff.

  85. Forgot to add, RTE taking the piss completely out of mayo people in the build up to Saturdays game, saw it yesterday on RTE Player, paint us Mayo folk in a humble and innocent way / struggling through life.

  86. @Catcol. You ask why there should be retirements. I’m not saying there should be retirements and I’m certainly not calling for retirements but 10 or 12 years training and playing at this level takes its toll especially when there has been so many heartbreaking disappointments for them. And you are dead right they have been written off before and have come back again and again. That of itself is simply amazing but how long can even these lads keep coming back? That’s my worry.

  87. Sean Burke – Love the emphasis on coaching and its frustrating to see skills not working. Victory means pressing advantage with smaller and smaller margins and accepting that you cannot give even a step lead to the man you’re marking – our backs regularly allow a couple of steps before they move; have to position goalside asap even in passing territory – yesterday some even went offside from being right side; position upsides when the ball is distant; kick a score without a prep step; tackle with the near forearm rather than reaching in off balance conceding a free or knocked; direct fast passes rather than hopping lobs; sweeper with an anticipatory systemic cognition rather than reactionary linear thinking which has cost us very dear with sweeper out of position; shaping the forwards run rather than reacting to his; etc., etc., while some solos come off the boot as if it were a rugby ball; making inches through timing and early positioning for the high ball working with e.g., a basketball and loops and grabbing it rather than passively reaching for it, etc., etc., all these take many evenings of drilling and other teams have surpassed us on these basics, and we need good split speed all over the field with powerhouses where they can be disruptive around their goal. anyway the Dublin seniors were out at camps passing on skills to the underage – its all system and culture!

  88. Sean Burke, How many players are ya on about been told to retire/not selected? You’re sounding like you want to scrap the whole team and start again? Your not making much sense I have to say. Theirs about 4 who might call time id say, thats it. The players 30 and under are still some a the best in the business.

  89. Willie Joe any chance you could organise an Interview on the Podcast with Mike Connelly the Mayo County Board Chairman to fill in Mayo supporters at home and abroad about the County Boards future plans ,Firstly will they modernise the McHale Park playing surface and dimensions which has had a major effect on our Home League and Connacht Championship games and Secondly, the proposed Mayo Gaa Training centre at Lough Lannagh , when will construction start??

  90. Well done Paddy Durcan. I was wondering if Dublin had any players who suffered injuries this year.

  91. I would like to see all the older lads back again if that’s their wish.

    The end of their carears should be a natural progression, in that they continue to play until there is some young lad better than them who pushes them down the pecking order.

    Why would we want to see any of the lads hang up their boots if their isn’t somone coming along who is at least as good as them.

    We need them all back until we have proper talent to replace them.

  92. Do some people seriously think the same Mayo panel can go on next year and do better? Or course there will be retirements, some choosen and others forced. Sentiment has no place in sport, the only way for a team to move forward at Mayos stage is to introduce new blood and for that to happen existing players have to step aside. Kerry knew it and so did Donegal, now Mayo are at that crossroads. Horan is going to be ruthless this winter he said it after the Match on Saturday, “there’s going to be changes to that panel”.

  93. Unfortunately you simply cannot just wait for players to decide when they want to retire. Pat Gilroy retired Shane Ryan, Ciaran Whelan and Jason Sherlock.

    In Galway, Andy Smith, Iarla Tannion, David Collins were all central in the move to get rid of Anthony Cunningham. A multiple club all ireland winner with Portumna(Smith), a motm in an all ireland final(tannion) and a young hurler of the year(Collins). They got 1 year under Donaghue, “retired” and then Donaghue delivered an All Ireland without them in 2017.
    It’s a harsh business but it had to be done, we only have to look at Bernard Brogan and Gavin. I guarantee he would be picked as a sub by any other manager.

  94. @Mayomad don’t agree. It’s not as simple as swapping a young group for an older group. James has introduced I think 10 new players this year, 11 if you discount D Coen’s previous involvement. Presumably that was the cohort that showed up best in trials. Many of them fell away for various reasons during the season, and I think I’m right in saying only 3 started the last day, Mattie, Fionn and James C. It takes time to bring young players through, especially when we’re not blessed with tons of them. So the concept that you flood the team with 20 – year olds, lose competitiveness for a couple of seasons and then hope it all comes right is balls. There’s a wealth of experience and talent still there amongst the over – 30s and the idea that you cull them all based on age only is just knee – jerk stuff. I could point to 3 men who will retire this year, no more than that. The reason James won’t have the sort of clear out you’re suggesting is because it’s going to take time to develop the talent he found this year and unearth some more. In the meantime we can’t be doing things like dropping down to Div. 2 as someone suggested here. We have to remain a competitive Div.1 team as a very basic requirement, and that means using our aging assets wisely. Btw, you cited Donegal as an example of brining young talent through. I thought I saw our old boys beating them the other evening on the one occasion that they got a fortnight’s rest all summer.

  95. Congrats to Paddy Durkan – his main attribute is speed & therein lies the direction of travel for Mayo 2020. While I respect Dublin I am not in the least persuaded that they will prevail this year or next. They got a fortuituous 1st goal & we were complicit in the subsequent 10mts in gifting them easy scores. From then on it was show boating time. In my opinion Mayo has almost the toolbox to go toe-to-toe with them for 70mts. We need a few pacier bucks to start or for drafting in for 2nd-half (possessing of course the requisite S&C) Another deficit is the presence to: 1. go into steady-boys’, let’s cool it mode, after a setback. 2. Give the ball to recognised finishers & stop the pot-shots& drop-short nonsense. This job is waiting to be finished – let’s do it.

  96. Before anyone writes any of our great warriors off for future years, here is a stat worth considering, the average age of the Mayo team that played on Saturday was one year younger then that of Dublin. It’s not about age or length of service, it’s simply a player’s ability, young or old, to be the best in their position on any given day against any given opposition. Also I would add that a player’s form is not constant and changes for several reason’s in any given match or indeed within the course of a match.
    Fact is Mayo are in transition and have been for the last few years. All you have to do to see this plainly is look at team sheets over the years. The core of the panal has stayed the same, but there has been movement and change in the team and panal, some of it natural and some forced due to injury. There is no magic bullet that will bring success. Certainly not dropping experienced players just to give a fresh look to the team. I’m sure James Horan and his selectors are well aware of their options and can see what we don’t, that is, who’s going well in training and where the potential is in a player, ie, who’s improving. To the best of my knowledge there is a secondary panal that train along side the main panal, here there will be young guys coming through, they just need time and training plus strength and conditioning to be ready for the modern demands of intercounty football. Then there is a smaller more unique group that can come into the equation, for example, players like Chris Barrett, Daren Coen and Hanley, who were in the reckoning early in their years, then left, then came back, were rediscovered and were able to make a worthwhile contribution in varying degrees. Who knows who else is out there in the many clubs of Mayo that could be discovered this year to come. Finally, on retirement, some of the player’s will have to make a call on the sport/work/personal life commitments that they currently are juggling with, for example, a fellow with a young family has to consider where he is really needed. Or a career minded person might have to move geographically to another county or country, this happened the Kieran Mc Donald and Tom Parsons respectively in both their stellar football careers. What’s for sure though, in an otherwise ever changing situation, is this, none of the players who wear a Mayo jersey will be giving anything but their all for the county. Just look at Tom Parsons Lazarus like return to the field of play. He said at the time of his injury that his return would be greater and so it was. Introduced off the bench in an All Ireland semi final. He epitomizes the spirit of the Mayo warrior footballer and we are so, so lucky to be in a position to have these to support. I’m full of confidence for the future of Mayo football. Mayo Abu!

  97. Who is saying anything about players waiting to decide when they want to retire ?

    Why should anyone retire until there is equal or better talent to replace them ?

    If players want to go again that should be no problem. It is a managers job to pick the best available talent. Unless other players put their hand up and prove to be as good or better than some of the older lads, why should a manager be picking younger lads who are not as talented.

    Talent should displace lesser talent and that is the way to improvement.

  98. Fair point Revellino, I just think the likes of Gavin and Cody don’t give guys the choice. I remember Jackie Tyrells book(9 time all ireland winner), 7 minutes meeting in a hotel, cody didn’t even have a coffee, all over, and they are from the same club. Its harsh, not nice but they are that successful for a reason. I guarantee if Bernard Brogan was a Mayo or Galway player in that situation he would be named as a sub.

  99. Its inevitable and necessary that change happens.

    I’m in no doubt that the vast majority of us (including posters here) have nothing but respect for the warriors that have given so much, that is now without question. However it really is time to rebuild and as others have pointed out, James has already indicated his intentions around this so I think its fair comment to chip in on the debate. It is, indeed, entirely his place to say what he said, no one elses, not even the players themselves, harsh and all as that may seem.
    Think Brian Cody, think Alex Ferguson, think (dare I say it) Jim Gavin. Sentimentality doesn’t come into it. And we are still a top team, and regardless of significant changes, the environment in Mayo is now there, thanks mainly to James for that. The belief is also there. Real, justified belief.

    I suspect there may be one or two exceptions. I hesitate to even speculate but, for instance, I could see Boyler back next year after his form in 2019. This would be most welcome in my view. He has been consistent all season and has not struggled so the case can rightly be made.

    Overall, for younger players to thrive they must be given their chance and it’s not fair for them to be looking over their shoulders expecting experienced player A, B or C, regardless of who they are, to take their place if they’re (the younger players) showing inconsistency. Thats what it boils down to.
    Its gut wrenching but I truly believe its what’s needed now. James furthered the point by noting the players who are pushing hard for places. This is very positive to hear and further supports the point. Its time now not to fear change but to embrace it.

  100. This is healthy debate and I think there is right on both sides of the discussion.
    Ideally, you should be a team in transition the Cody way – two or three new faces each year.
    However, we haven’t really been doing this over the years, and JH himself didn’t really do much about it
    in his first term in the job. Thankfully, he’s showing leadership in that regard now.
    We must respect our great warriors but at the same time no player can be greater than the team.
    If JH unearths another three players over the winter and Carr, D Coen, McDonagh, Ruane, and a couple of others progress further in the accepted necessary 5 year cycle of strength and conditioning, we will be able to deal with up to 8 retirements between this year and next.
    Test and blood your squad in the FBD and in the National League (doing enough to stay in Div. 1).
    Then, it’s the new faces for year after next and the one after that, we should now be searching for and investing in at the same time.

  101. Having watched back the game again – couple of noticeable things in the 1st 20mins of the 2nd half

    1. We missed 6 scoreable chances
    2. Gave Dublin 2 soft frees where there was no danger (jersey pulls)
    3. Keegan marking Callaghan in full back line. Harrison did much better on him when switched but to late
    4. Ref didn’t give us 3 frees imo that would have been scoreable in that period.
    5. Not starting the goal keeper thread again but feel Clarke would have saved at least 1 of those goals.
    6. Owning the ball on our kick out was needed.
    7. Ruane was limping on 54mins and not replaced. Diarmuid was playing in spurts also

    I think if we had the extra week we would have been much sharper i.e. mentally stronger and could have brought us much closer. Don’t believe having watched it again any major cull is needed. Plenty of work needed in forward play and kick out / keep ball strategy. Bulk up Carr, and McDonagh and lean and mean D Coen (along with a few other of the new lads) and roll again…

  102. Mayo88
    Saw that build up piece on rte and I strongly urge anyone who hasn’t seen it to not and I mean not look at it, unless you want your blood to boil or you want to smash your TV and get a new one. Condescending and patronising shite.

  103. Watch this gane again… the goalkeeper for the secind half left a lot to be desired kicked ball after ball to dublin players

    New gk who can kick and safe needed…

    He almost got caiught with a roscommon type error.

    Guys were warriors but 7 or 10 from panel need to go and now…

    They had there chance support the younger players mentor then

    Managenent and hard calls have to be made

  104. @fearbolg well said there, great points.

    It seems some people won’t be happy until
    the whole panel is “retired” by James, and we start with the u-20’s….nonsense. Its starting to sound more like a premiership team, sell them all and buy new players stuff! Its not how it works. Without speculating on who will go, id imagine the following will be close to our first 15 next season:

    1. Hennelly/new goal keeper

    2.Barrett/Mullin. 3. Harrison. 4. ODonoghue

    5. Keegan. 6. Coen/Boyle. 7. Durcan

    8. Ruane. 9. Aido

    10. McDonagh. 11. Diarmuid. 12. Treacy/kmc

    13. Carr. 14. Coen. 15. Cillian

    Jason Doc, Tom P, Vaughan, Plunkett, T Conroy, Boland, and various others pushing for places or starting. Im sure lads like Diskin or Ryan O’Donoghue might make a bolt. Theirs plenty of talent in that team. I think if Darren Coen improves his fitness, he could be one of the top forwards in the country.

  105. Did any of ye take notice of some of the Dublin players before during and after the march around the pitch on Saturday, so calm even cracking jokes and laughter amongst them, I don’t think I ever saw a more relaxed group just about to play an All Ireland semi final.
    @Denis Nealis, you may be correct in stating that retirement should not be based on one’s lengths of service, but my God, it cannot do one’s confidence any good to be beaten by your foe for nearly the past 7 seasons.
    Youth freshens things up, aided by experienced players, this is an ideal opportunity to rebuild.
    Mayo will be back contesting All Ireland semi’s again but there will be many new faces.

  106. @Big Mike. I don’t think it has anything to do with choice.

    If your good enough your good enough. Choice shouldn’t come in to it.

    You mention Cody. He held on to Shefflin even when Shefflins body was giving up the ghost. Think he wanted him to get that elusive 10th medal.

    You mention Gavin. Cluxton must be 38 or approaching it. I know he’s exceptional and all that. But Andrews, Mcmenamon and the likes are still involved. They don’t get much of a look in these days because some extraordinary young Dublin talent put up their hands.

    These managers move players on alright but I think they make damn sure they have better talent to replace them with before they get moved on.

    A lot of the recent Kilkenny greats retired over the past 2 or 3 years. I think a player knows himself when its time to go.

    It would always be nice to see young improving talent but its not always there.

  107. James Flynn – I appreciate what you want to do with that piece by John P Kean but you’re doing what another poster tried to do yesterday, which isn’t allowed here, i.e. cutting and pasting an entire pice from some paper (you don’t say which) without any attribution. There are copyright issues involved here and so you simply can’t do that. If you have a link to the piece in question that’s fine but lifting the whole piece and pasting it in here isn’t allowed.

  108. Dead right there Fearbolg. I’ve never understood the mentality for a wholesale change and assuming that it would all be alright in 2 years time. The blend of youth and experience is key.
    There are bound to be a few that will either walk away or be forced off, but the notion that we should start with some sort of total clear out in the hope it will be what we need is clueless at best.

    The good news is that there are a lot of young lads coming through and getting game time and those that had come through already starting to shine.There are a number of the under 21 team of 2016 on the panel or around the fringes including some playing on the Junior Football team for the county. I thought Stephen Coen did very well the last few games. He’s the type of lad that just gets on and does what he’s supposed to. Mattie Ruane and James Carr are 2 more and then there’s Fionn McDonagh and Fergal Boland. Treacy, Diskin, Murray and a few more will be seeing a lot more game time next year I expect. The future is still bright, but we don’t need be getting get rid anywhere near the number of players as some here are suggesting. Perhaps 4 or 5, 6 at a stretch but forcing anything beyond that and we’ll find ourselves further back the pack than we are now. To be fair given the year we had with injuries and a run of 7 games in 8 weeks we probably over achieved even getting to a semi final, and losing to that Dublin team in the manner we did after this years championship run shouldn’t be the catalyst for catastrophic change.
    We have to stay in division 1 if we are to give the youth the experience they need against the top teams. That’s where the top teams play and that’s where we need to be. We need to start winning Connacht again, but throwing the Baby out with the bathwater by dumping a load of players will help us to achieve neither the Nestor Cup or retention of Division one status.

  109. Revellino, I was replying to what you said.

    ” I would like to see all the older lads back again if that’s their wish”

    I’m not going to name guys but if they hypothetically wish to be on the panel next year, it shouldn’t be up to them. That’s all I’m saying.
    Cluxton is winning all Irelands and should win an all star, he has been the best keeper in the country this year. Mcmanaman and Andrew’s are making panels. Shefflin is one of the greatest hurlers of all time. Even half fit he performed in all ireland finals.

  110. I’d expect six gone from this years panel.

    People saying you need a blend of youth and experiences , sure you’d still have that in abundance . Aido, Cillian, doc, lee, kev mc etc

  111. The first place that needs to be looked at is the Goalkeeper if Clarke’s kickouts are deemed not good then the position needs to be opened up properly to keepers across the county. enoughs enough after Saturdays latest fiasco on that front

  112. @Dubtheblue, good man yourself, nice words in fairness. I wish ye luck in the final (as if ye need it). A magnificent football team and they’ll be rightly regarded as the greatest of all time, that probably won’t sit well with Kerry folk, but its the truth. I can only speak for myself here, but when your beaten by the better team its easier to stomach defeat. Pace power and skill in abundance. Up to the rest of us to close the ever widening gap.

  113. One or two lads might consider their future but I imagine that might depend on personal circumstances as much as physical condition.

    Some lads are recently married, maybe starting families and others have work commitments to manage. The commute from Dublin is also extremely taxing on the lads based away from home.

    The interview with Chris Barrett in the IT at the weekend was very honest. We’re at a serious disadvantage when it comes to managing a significant portion of the squad based on the other side of the country.

  114. MayoDunphy. Agree around four players will retire.but would say another two of those who started or came on last saturday will be omitted from the 2020 squad.

  115. Surely it’s a managers job and his selectors to identify emerging talent and young players with potential.

    It should be a natural process of players sliding down the pecking order, be it from ageing or poor form.

    We have already seen this year James Carr, Fionn McDonagh and Darren Coen getting good game time. That means that 3 starters from last year were pushed off the starting 15.

    Andy for example played a major role on more than a couple of occasions this year in turning games in our favour.

    Maybe he can still do that job next year again. Maybe it won’t be in his legs to be as effective. If it’s not, he will slide down the panel and some new face will be given their shot.

    I only use Andy.as an example but it could be Keith or David or Donie or Chris or Colm or Seamie or a number of players.

    I don’t think you just push players off the roster for the sake of it. That happens automatically when there are better options to use. At least this is what should happen or else the manager and selectors are not doing the job properly.

  116. Does anyone know are there players in a development squad at present. It takes players 2-3 years to get the necessary S&C. No point bringing in players from club level training and trying them in Division 1 of national league against players with 5-7 years of S&C and discarding them again because they get blown away. Players like Horan from Kilmovee, Tommy Conroy, McLoughlin from Westport etc should be in development squad training

  117. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Liam Irwin would be number one on my list.
    I hope James sets his sights on him. Skill, strength but most importantly confidence in the FF line.
    Hopefully we get to see some potential new players in the county championship.

  118. I read the quote by James Horan which said there will be changes to the Mayo squad next year and in which he emphasised youth coming through.

    Nowhere did I see it written or said that he intended to retire players (how very strange). More likely and plausible to me is that James and some of the older players have already had conversations about their intentions. I’d say those took place last December/January. I’d say the player himself would have taken a lead saying he sees his spell coming closer to a close.

    The main plausible reason is this – it’s a hell of a commitment out of your life, body and effort. When people reach a certain stage these commitments are draining. You just cannot keep putting your life on hold. Place yourself in the shoes of some of those men.

    There is too much respect in that team – between players and management- for players to go on a cull. I’d say also there’s too much self-awareness and smarts in the players not to know when the demands of that sporting life have become too great. It’s just my view. Everyone knew last year James was looking to bring new players through, knew we were becoming a changing team.

    I seem to remember some blog posts calling for clear cut changes like this last year too.

    P.S. Sean and Mayo88, what you call romanticism can coexist with strategic thinking and vision.

  119. I think last Saturday should serve a lesson..beaten by the best team in the country..unless we learn from it it going to be the same next year…now it should not be players choice to remain on panel,that is managers call..fresh blood required because if current squad not good enough then madness to expect any different next year…have to match ourselves with Dublin and that means pace power and physical strength…they are and have to be the benchmark..

  120. WJ, sorry about that I didn’t realise we could not do that, it appeared on my Facebook page and as a lifelong Mayo
    supporter, (1964) I thought it was a powerful piece. sorry again!

  121. Swallow Swoops – those type of posts looking for a clearout of the current playing panel didn’t just start last year. There were calls of that kind – about players who are now over thirty but were then the right side of 25 – going back at least seven or eight years. I wouldn’t be surprised if they all came piling back in now to trumpet how they’ve finally been proved, in their own minds, at least part right. Just like the proverbial stopped clock that’s right twice every day.

  122. It’s okay, James Flynn – if there’s a link to it then it’s fine to post the link. It’s just posting whole chunks of text that’s an issue.

  123. Dub the Blue, thank you for your decency:

    “…To bury valiant warriors in the dirt of a semi final without acknowledgment that ye were the most worthy of adversarys would he a disgrace . Dont fold we were once started like earwigs it was the making of us…”

    P.S. I have a feeling ye might see some of those old foes back to add a bit sparkle again to proceedings. When our heads get back level again, we’ll be ready to meet ye again!

  124. Well done Paddy, excellent year and some athlete.
    While Dublin would eventually have blitzed us because of the short recovery, their first goal had 2 turning points
    1) Paddy dropped his kick the smallest of margins short &
    2) Keegan was pulled down by a Dublin forward for the 1st goal which wasn’t spotted.

    Some of the misses were from loss of composure. Dublin’s first goal turned the game on its head and the team was shell shocked. Clever options were abandoned.

    The one thing this year has shown is that teams across the country need to be more strategic with kickouts. When faced with no obvious out ball, a signal can be sent by the Goalie to set up decoy runs and free up space.
    We were very efficient in 1st half but conceded 3 unnecessary scores from kickouts. Also an unnecessary free (though the foul was hard to spot if it was) at the very start of 2nd half.

    The only other thing the TV panel highlighted was the unexploited space down the wings in the 1st half. Horan was screaming for that space to be used.

    So yes we could’ve squeezed a few more scores in 1st half and kept their return even lower.

  125. Held off on posting the last few days while the fog of war cleared but a few things come to mind.

    An amazing performance by the Dubs. In boxing, they say that an ageing fighter either has one great fight left in him or he gets old over night. In the first half, on Saturday, it was the former while in the second half it was the latter.

    As much as some might try and deny it, football is in dire straits and nothing short of Dublin winning 5 in a row will stir the floating voters, delegates necessary to push through reforms at Congress, from their sleep.

    Closer to home, changes are required on an off the field. Inertia and time make some of those changes quite obvious but for things to move forward I reckon one of our “in their prime” stars may have to go as well to allow the emerging veterans like Durcan and Diarmuid to take things forward.

    One thing Ferguson and Wenger, in his prime, always did was get rid of somebody a year too soon rather than a year too late.

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