Kevin McLoughlin our MOTM from yesterday’s game

Photo: MichaelMaye.com

This was always going to be an easy one to sort. As I said in our post-match chat on the podcast, there was only ever going to be one winner in the Man of the Match poll on the Meath game yesterday. That’s the way it panned out and that winner is Kevin McLoughlin.

The Knockmore man’s late salvo of 1-2 for us at Páirc Tailteann yesterday rescued a match that had been spinning away from us in the howling gale. His contribution was also enough to see him win the MOTM poll with a decisive 40% of the vote.

Prominent too in the vote on yesterday’s match were Fergal Boland (16%), Ryan O’Donoghue (14%) and Paddy Durcan (9%), all of whom played a major part for us in the narrow win we secured in Navan. Well done to all of them.

65 thoughts on “Kevin McLoughlin our MOTM from yesterday’s game

  1. Best ever player from one of the big teams to never win an All Star? Although the game suited defenders, I was very disappointed with Conroy. Got turned over easily and kicked a bad wide on his good side with the wind. Like Loftus, he seems to lack the bite/aggression that all good Gaelic footballers have.

    Might seem a bit early but I’d bring Paul Towey straight into the match day squad for the Monaghan game (I believe he is already training with the senior team). It’s a long time since (Cillian maybe) a Mayo underage forward has been posting those numbers from play.

  2. You’re writing Conroy off after how many minutes of intercounty football?
    What if Towey doesn’t score 6 from play on his debut? Who will you call up then?

  3. I think bar james durcan all our forwards scored from play. Kevin mac played a stormer. For me ryan o donoghue was very good. Lively. Brave and a great ball player. Boland has been consistent. I’m happy with application of all the guys. But there is still some strange decisions on field that baffle me. Aiden taking sideline and trying for a point. Not happening.

  4. Writing any player, especially a young player starting off, on probably the worst day of the year, in early February on a wet pitch away from home seems to me a little premature. Every player needs time to get to this level.

  5. I reckon Conroy, Carr and O’Donoghue have the right stuff, just need some time to develop, Conroy is still quite light, but he will fill out, these guys will be our main attacking threat in time, Towey also looks the part, and will see action at senior level soon I reckon. Unfortunately some of the other forwards we had high hopes for just don’t seem to be producing it despite several chances, albeit no consistent run of games.

  6. Like many earlier posters, I’d call for patience with some of the younger lads. It’s going to take a bit of time for them to acclimatize to senior inter-county football. They’re all showing well in patches, and there’s certainly enough evidence to suggest that the likes of Carr, O’Donoghue and Conroy have enough talent to ply their trade at this level.

    Kevin McLoughin is certainly showing them the way in terms of attitude and application. There’s never a word out of him. Just gets on with it and never hides. Love him as a player. Some much composure and class. And can do a job in so many parts of the pitch.

  7. Kev mc really is something else, have lost count of the amount of times he has bailed us out over the years. Big scores always when they are no needed, no fuss no fanfare no media. A class act.

    Hopefully our new attackers can learn from him, at the very top level its not enough to just be ok or decent, you need to show you can grab a game by the scruff of the neck at some stages like Kevin has on numerous occasions over the years

    Out of all our young attackers James Carr is the one who has the highest ceiling for potential i think, he reminds me of galways shane walsh a lot – the raw (potentially brilliant) talent is plain to be seen, if he can get the inconsistencies and dodgy decision making out of his game he will be the main man in 2-3 years

    Shout out to boland too, he has managed to really step it up this campaign, Nailing down a starting spot.

    AOS and Keegan still a good bit off the pace i thought, AOS got dominated by Menton and Leeroy just isnt up to his dynamic best yet.

  8. It looks like it takes Up to 3 years involvement in the senior panel to cope with physical demands. D O’Connor is an exception but look at Coen, Boland, Plunkett, it takes time and importantly game time to get the necessary experience. The younger guys will be inconsistent, especially in the forwards. But there is no other option, the 2017 team is breaking up bit by bit so it will take time. Hopefully Darren Coen will be back soon and Cillian, And if Carr stays injury free we will have options up front.

  9. As others have said, I’d urge everyone commenting to be very careful in how they word what they say when expressing opinions about the young, inexperienced players who are, quite rightly, being introduced to League action. These are young lads, with families and loved ones who, given the site’s reach, are likely to end up reading what people posting here have to say about them. The house rules are clear on what’s acceptable and what’s not so please ensure that what’s posted falls on the right side of the line.

  10. Writing off young players in a storm on the 10th of February, would make you wonder if some “fans” have ever kicked a ball, at any level!!!

    As Puckout quite rightly points out, it takes 3 years developing for most players to acclimatise to senior football. Boland looked too light a couple of years ago, but look at him now, i dont think we could start a game without him. If we manage to survive Div 1 this year, it’ll be a far bigger achievment than last years win, simply because of the amount of new young players we’re trying out.

  11. I agree 100 p.c WJ. We as supporters seem to think there are a few D.Cliffords wandering the fields of Mayo just waiting to be discovered. There aren’t but what we do have is 20+ honest grafters, some of whom have just began their apprenticeships ,a bit raw around the edges but management will get them polished up. Fergal Boland for example has come on in leaps & bounds after an in /out year last year he has now grown into a Jason Doc type of player, gives all he has ,and becoming a vital player. This experiment is well worth persisting with so let’s support rather than moan.

  12. Oisin Mullen, Jordan Flynn, Brian Walsh, Ryan O’Donoghue, Tommy Conroy and Eoghan McLoughlin. I must be missing 2.

  13. No mention in my piece about being written-off, just that I was disappointed. For example, on the other end of the scale Ryan O’D, despite giving away possession quite a bit in his last 2 games, looks like he’s developing very well. He’s small/slight but he’s brave, both physically and when trying to make something happen. He’s decision-making will improve with more games. James Carr is good too, just needs to tighten up on some of his shooting but he shows really well and wins 50/50 ball.

    Boland has always been class, even going back to the All Ireland winning U21 team. He doesn’t looked to have actually gotten any bigger, he’s just played more games. He constantly shows for the ball, takes shots with confidence, wins frees close to goal. He’s the new Alan Dillon for me (on the pitch not in the Dail!).

  14. I wonder is James Horan including Gary Boylan and James Stretton as part of the 8?. Both played in the FBD game against Galway. I don;t believe Streeton played before, but I’m open to correction. I think he made the panel but never played.

  15. The Dillon-Boland comparison is a great shout. very similar styles. Always to have an out and out baller like that buzzing around the 40, would like to see him get a sustained run at no 11.
    He has shown well now 4 games in a row and in the champo last year

  16. Think Gary Boylan has an injury at the moment which is why we havent seen him in the league yet. Im sure he’ll have a lot to offer when he’s fit, excellent free taker – can take them off the ground as well, has pace and can score off both feet.

  17. Think he was including O’Hora, who really was a debutant in Ballybofey.

    As I said in another post, Kevin Mac is one of our all-time greats and a shoo in here obviously, but I thought Robbie’s kicking was brilliant. That gale was really something and I dreaded the second half, but he stroked the kicks to perfection and always found his man.

    While I’ve liked a lot of what I’ve seen of the newbies (Tommy Conroy won a lot of ball he shouldn’t have against Donegal), the overall impression is, small and light; indeed the team in general cuts this impression. This is somewhat worrying, and will need to be supplemented by good big ‘uns: Seamie, Mattie, Donie, Cillian, Fionn MacD.

  18. I’m impressed now that alot of our u21 all ireland winning team are nailing down starting places. Plunkett. Eoin o donoghue. Diarmuid. Stephen coen. Boland. James Carr. I feel there time has come to bring us onto greater things. Add in the experienced guys like aido and youth like ryan were on our way to the holy grail…. patiently

  19. The way the game is evolving at the moment, small and light is not the way to go. Remember 29 of the starting 30 in last years final were 6 feet or over , the exception being Con OCallaghan who was 5’11” . If we fill the team with these lighter players we will be destroyed by the top teams like we were by Kerry in 04 and 06.

  20. The medium salaries of the top 14 executive’s in the GAA for 2019 was €125,845….The Volunteer ethos is alive and well in the GAA all over the world, it would have ceased to exist decades ago, only for the loyal Volenenteer’s… Just nice to know that we are being led by people who are in it for the right reasons!

  21. Albanyend, Carr, O’Hora, Plunket, Mullen can not be considered small and are well able to match what’s out there. With regard to the rest of the players emerging, they are the best young players in Mayo and deserve to be where they are. Its only February, at least give them a chance to establish themselves. What are the alternatives? just play 6ft+ players no matter what and leave the skilful lads at home. As a previous poster said, there isn’t any Cliffords running around Mayo waiting to be discovered.

  22. What about Tom O’Sullivan and Paul Murphy from Kerry? No way are they 6 foot. Also Niall scully and Jack McCaffrey.

  23. Any team needs balance – especially in the forwards. In white heat of championship you will get away with a maximum of two light scoring forwards who find it hard to win thier own ball – but can score when they do get the ball. Real pace is what we have been lacking a bit last few years – Tommy Conroy brings a bit of that and he can also finish. I think these new young forwards would learn quicker if there were some experienced players in the forwards with them. Example – kevin Mac making himself available to Ryan O D for two scores in second half last Sunday.

  24. @Wideball.. I stand corrected on Murphy and OSullivan .I have seen both scullys and mccaffreys height given as 6ft.

  25. There are lots of characteristics you would like your players to have….size, speed, skill, attitude, intelligence etc. For me the way the game is evolving, speed is becoming more and more important than ever. The way teams move the ball fast and try to avoid contact means the very fast players have a huge advantage. I don’t necessarily mean straight line speed but the ability to accellorate and change direction fast and indeed the speed of thought and decision making.
    Maybe that’s the direction we are going?

  26. watching Gaelic football you would think there was an offside rule in play–when an out field player is in possesion all the inside forwards run away from goal instead of towards it¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬

  27. 2021 could be our year. A realistic goal for 2020 is to maintain Division 1 status, win Nestor and an AI semi final. JH is putting the building blocks in place for a real cut at it for 2021.Players like RyanOD, Conroy, Mullin, Flynn, Walsh, O’Hora can only get better with a 1st championship behind them. They have real potential.

  28. Following an earlier post I did a check of the teams where the forwards scored from play last weekend. In order
    Dublin 1.8, Mayo 1.6, Monaghan 1-4, Galway 0.6, Kerry 0.5, Meath 1.2, Donegal 1.2, and Tyrone 0.1. 3 of the first 4 teams won with Tyrone bucking the trend (not the first time!). Would indicate that commentators would need to do a bit of research before going on national TV and I include Cantwell in this. Where Spillane and others come out with ridiculous statements they need to be pulled up on it. She did pull him up in its only February. Also, if a bit obvious, scoring forwards win games. Our own supporters need to steady themselves a small bit and give the manager and the younger players a chance. Saying that I feel that Carr and Conroy should not have been taken off at half time. Maybe there was a reason for it?

  29. Given Carr’s senior debut was arguably postponed by injury I’d personally have no issue with him getting game time in a controlled way during this time of year. With Conroy, it might just as much been a case of wanting to see how Loftus would get on. Obviously no his best match, but the weather was brutal. As said on the podcast, I’d love to see him let rip in a game – hard to forget that Derry qualifier!

  30. Does anyone know is Gary Boylan injured or has he dropped out of the panel I had high hopes for him this year

  31. Injury is the issue there, Backdoorsam. Injury is also relevant in relation to the game time James Carr is getting right now. Don’t forget he was forced off due to injury up in Ballybofey so it’s little wonder that he’s only been used in the first half in each of the two games since then.

  32. I was at the game Sunday and to be honest you could not judge the players playing in those conditions. I would however judge some decision making.

    Firstly We had a very strong wind in first half and seemed reluctant to shoot from distance even though we have the likes of Carr and Boland on team who are well able to put it between the posts from distance. Everyone was aware that we needed a big lead starting second half so we should have used the advantage better. Id like to see stats but i reckon we took more shots playing into a gale force which does not make sense.

    Secondly the ongoing goalkeeper debate. I personally think that some games suit Hennelly and this would be one as Clarkes kick outs would be destroyed in that kind of wind.

    Clarke is a great goalkeeper who is reliable but has a bad kickout, we should be working on training ground to reduce the need for him to kick long.

    With game in melting pot in Navan Hennelly continued to pump high ball down on Aido, it was very predictable and he could not get space to catch it clean. 2 Points up in extra time he did not see or chose to ignore Plunkett who was standing unmarked outside the D and went long again to Aidan ( 5th or 6th time in a row at this stage). Ball was lost and Meath scored to bring score within one. That is the kind of decision making that is hard to support so is the reason i will always prefer Clarke at crucial moments.

    All in all though im happy with progress of team so far considering most other counties have not experimented much with youth in comparison to us. We have a lot of experienced players to come back into the fold.

  33. JCAF – I’ve edited out that bit where you dumped on Robbie. There’s no need for that, you could as easily made the same point just as well without twisting the blade in the way that you did.

    For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t share your analysis of how Robbie did in the second half. You fail, for example, to mention the first five or six restarts that he got away perfectly after the break, varying those ones very nicely. He hit all the late ones long alright but Meath were pressing high and had pinned us back a few times before that from short restarts so it was probably as well to go longer.

    On using the wind to good or bad effect, Billy Joe Padden in the Mayo News makes a number of relevant points about this far better than I ever could. His column which mentions that issue is here: http://www.mayonews.ie/sports/34956-mcloughlin-reminds-us-of-his-quality.

  34. i had a pep in my step leaving navan on sunday evening heading back to mayo . 3 points from 3 games is not too bad, even though we grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat.we should not be too hard on players or management this early in the year.they have to try out new players and new team – tatics.i feel all these games in bad weather are endurance tests for both the team and supporters.i also think the under 20 game on saturday should have been postponed. anyway roll on to clones on sunday week. P.S. I dont want this week to pass without congratulating ALAN DILLON, our former star on winning a seat in dail eireann. this is a man who lost NINE all-ireland finals during his football career with mayo and stiil kept coming back for more

  35. @JCAF. We have had short kick outs picked off and the ball ended up in the back of our own net on more than 1 occasion in the recent past. I know you make the point of the man been open, but a dropped ball or even a poor short kick out could have spelled disaster. I was happier to see it go long. Even if we did not win it, Meath had work to do to get up for the score.

    I cannot imagine the grief Robbie might get, by going short and the ball ending up in his net. They were tough conditions for any goalie and I think he put in a very good shift.

  36. Sorry Willie Joe, i did not intend to make it an attack on Hennelly. I was just using examples as to why i prefer Clarke in goals at crucial times. As i said i think Hennelly was the right choice for Goals in those conditions as he has a fantastic kick out. Its just at crucial moment we needed him to calm down and pick out a man if he could. Landing the ball repeatedly on Aidan was predictable and Meath were waiting for it.

    I just read the Mayo news article and feel it backs up my statement. With that wind we had ability to shoot from further out but i believe that we took less shots than we should have. I could be wrong but it felt we were more active in shooting in second half

  37. @ Revellino
    I am not arguing the fact of going long was correct action. I am arguing that continually aiming at Aidan was predictable and that due to the obvious tactic Meath were able to win that ball in last 10 mins as we continued with that Kickout.

    In Extra time leading by 2 points i would have preferred him to pick out the free man in front of him rather than putting it up into air which we were losing at the time. The fact of the matter was that decision made it a one point game. I know Hennelly takes unwarranted abuse at time but if he picks out our player on short kick out and our player drops ball then he can hardly be blamed.

    Anyway point im trying is that we needed to calm down after goal to close out game and not do the usual Mayo ending to a Game 🙂

  38. Thanks, JCAF – I take your point and I’d agree it was all a bit frantic at the end. On the day overall, though, we managed far better on our restarts than they did and, of course, the win masks failings in different parts of the field. We definitely didn’t take enough advantage of the wind in the first half but I thought Billy Joe’s piece was good in highlighting how teams often misunderstand the wind’s effect on a game. It looked a bit like that with us on Sunday.

  39. The one thing Hennelly has over Clarke is his long kickout so it’s pointless not to use that when he’s playing. Our goal came from a long kickout over the Meath press and McLoughlin and RO’D were left 2 v 2. Trying a short one would have been extremely risky at that point of the game against the gale.

  40. I was at the game and the conditions were awful for outfield players and nigh on impossible for a goal keeper and Robbie did very little wrong in my mind for a second day running. His accuracy and finding his man has improved massively.. he can go long, short and vary left to right very quickly which gave our guys great time to get on the ball. To give balance it was’nt robbie who was so wasteful in the first half.. if we had a fully functioning forward unit we should have been in double digits and out the gate in the first half. If meath could so easily read our strategy of kicking the ball out to Aido then why didn’t our half backs read the breaking ball off Aido. In situations like that you would have seen Boyler dive in head first and burst out with the ball, a yard of turf and a meath man’s shoe laces. We missed him on Sunday. I hope he’s not badly injured. Games like these to young lads can’t be measured.. nothing better than winning by a point into the teeth of a gale.. and against meath. As someone else said above I also had a skip in my step on the way home

  41. Wonder if Conor Diskin still has a role.

    It didn’t quite work out for him last year, but, apart from not scoring a lot, he did little enough wrong. He is big, strong, mobile, and can win his ball. These attributes are critical and I would be confident about him bearing down on goal. Our newbies, as I said, though good, seem small and light, and they haven’t scored a lot really.

  42. Maybe catcol…my sense from management is that Conor like Conor O’Shea, while strong and athletic that they dont have enough football in them. Ive not seen enough of Diskin to judge fully. I did go to all the u20 games in 2018 and was at most of our league games last year. He is tenacious and very strong but didnt appear to be a ‘natural finisher’…not that we have many!! He came on v roscommon in championship and if memory serves me right the first thing he did was foul a rossie which they scored from – unfortunate but it was a big moment in teh 2nd half and I think that was the last time he played senior for us, if I am correct? Still time for him for sure and if he has a big year with Claremorris then that is the best platform for him to get back into the Mayo set up (I dont know if he is already part of the extended panel?) You are right though, some of our ‘newbies’ are light, you can forgive Conroy as it’s his first year and he will be bigger and meaner in 2021/22. Of the new forwards we have used over the league to date and including last year, I think Carr, ROD and Conroy are the 3 most likely to ‘make it’.. We need to see Carr play some full 70 mins before this league is out. Time for him to grab the jersey and own a game. He has shown super glimpses, liek in the league final when he scored two lovely 2nd half points into the Canal and then the goal in Limerick but we need more consistency. I would have said McDonagh too but he doesnt appear to be involved right now, which is a pity for him and a pity for Mayo as he had a decent 1st season, particularly in the league. His influence faded as the season progressed.

    I was excited when I heard Gary Boylan was back. He can score (from play and frees) and is fast. I would be very surprised if he didnt become a key player for us, but maybe it takes a year to get back into Gaelic Football properly after being with sligo rovers and cork city for years. Does anyone know how he is getting on?

    And Liam Irwin too…would love to see him really fit…100%. He is a talent but one yet untapped at senior level yet. It must come from him first.

  43. When people say our new ish forwards are light , I’m kinda confused , Carr is a big man , ROD might be light but it makes no odds when you’re hard as nails , shur mcghlouhlin is hardly massive but he’s hardly ever pushed aside cause he’s tough and proper tough .

  44. Also Darren Coen is yet to make an appearance. Big & strong with hands of glue, and an accurate kicker off both feet. I expect a big impact from him in the coming weeks & months.

  45. The panel seems to be open under James at the moment with the introduction last week of Sean Regan Ballina and Eoghan McLaughlin Westport, so maybe some players might get a call up in the coming weeks with club games starting up this weekend, I still find it hard to understand how players like Sharoize Akram, Cian Hanley, Cathal Horan, Oisin McLoughlin,Conor Diskin, Peter Naughton, Jack Reilly and Conor O’Shea can’t get in the current squad when you see some of the names that have been tried now for 2 or 3 years and they still havn’t stepped up to the plate , this would not be excepted down in Kerry. For me Paul Towey has to start against Monaghan with the performance he gave last Saturday against Galway , Its a long time since a Mayo forward scored 9 points against Galway at Under 20 or 21 level, I would also like to see Fionn McDonagh and Gary Boylan start aswell as they are capable of scoring from play I feel.

  46. Great link Nephin20, I enjoyed that analysis.

    The David Clifford sending off is rightly being highlighted and it actually may be a watershed moment. Not surprising that it takes a Kerry player for the outrage to be do strong! Never ceases to amaze me the power the big counties have. I’d be willing to bet big money that Clifford will never get sent off again in his playing career. As the rules stand, I can’t see how this issue can be fixed overnight.

    The widespread perception is that Refs have been taking the ‘soft’ option of dishing out a yellow apiece for as long as any of us can remember. It was always going to take the highest profile player for it to really get attention. Needless to say, when it’s clear cut it’s incredibly frustrating for the innocent party.

    With the Clifford incident it was so obvious when played back that he was innocent and he was purposely trying to show that he wasnt getting involved as of course he already on a yellow. However the Ref in fairness didn’t see this demonstration of innocence. Therein lies the problem for Refs. Not all of them will see it and for all the ref knows Clifford could have been pucking at the defender first. Saying “the forward is never the instigator” doesn’t really cut it when it comes to the Ref making a decision on who’s the culprit. Forwards can be cute aswell and can employ the dark arts, and if there is a shift in the way such instances are dealt with you can bet this will be exploited to the full. The fact that it was Tyrone may also add to the outrage factor especially when you consider the history between the two and what Tyrone got away with in those finals in the noughties. People don’t forget.

    Those types of incidents are often away from the play and therefore out of the Refs view so I truly have sympathy for the man with the whistle here. In lots of these situations it will be next to impossible to determine who started what. I understand why Refs flash a yellow apiece and I actually think it’s to do with safety a lot of the time, not just for the two players in question, but also to prevent a game becoming too rough and dangerous where players feel like they’ve a licence to belt each other at will. In any event, handing out two yellows usually ends it and the game carries on, but obviously it’s much more of an issue if one player has already received a yellow, thus unfairly getting sent off.

    Ultimately any conversation around trying to solve this issue needs to include the bringing in of video review or having a second referee, or giving more power to linesmen and umpires. How else can it be solved? Answers on a postcard please.

    People are great to be giving out but slow to identify solutions. I’d be the first to criticize Refs when it’s deserved but they’ve an impossible job at present with all the rule changes, and this yellow card issue is extremely difficult. Even just with the frantic speed of intercounty matches, be it league or championship, these incidents are split-second for Refs. Not easy. For the most part, we’re placing an unfair expectation on them.

    On another note, the Kerry-Dublin rivalry love-in at the moment is nauseating and will worsen as the year goes on. Aided greatly by Spillane and Whealan. Watch that space. Sure let them have at it.

    I’ve a strong feeling Galway could go all the way this year. Outside of Mayo, Padraig Joyce is by far my favorite Gaa man. Genuine, down-to-earth, insightful, zero BS. I’ll find it hard or even impossible to dislike him. Make no mistake about it, the players will go to war for him. He hasn’t been shy in his comments about what their aim is for this year, and why not. He has every reason to be confident but there’s still every chance we can take them down in Connaught but we’ll certainly be up against it. It’s no doubt the only show in town in terms of Horans plans. Hopefully an exciting summer awaits. Won’t be too long. Sure it’s nearly time to start planting the spuds!

  47. Not sure what the idea of the development panel is Akram, Ben Doyle, and Oisin McLaughlin where on it last years Seamus Cunniffe Adam Gallagher and Peter Naughton before that but then aren’t used and another 15 players are brought in instead, wasn’t sure what the selection of Ben Doyle was about but when see His club mates Keelan Dever in the FBD and last week Eoghan McLaughlin coming in instead. Surely the intent of a development panel is to actually use them but I don’t see that happening all that much

  48. Jeez Nephin I think C O’Shea has had plenty of chances but never stepped up. The thing about development squad is maybe some of the players in it don’t develop as expected. Also some players just opt out of the insane commitment that is being part of an inter county panel.

  49. Is it not just a case of some players make the step up and some don’t? I think Fionn McDonagh, Mattie Ruane, James Carr, James McCormack and Ciaran Treacy were all in the development panel for at least 1 year so it clearly helped their progression. You will always have a certain drop out rate.

  50. Sean Burke and others – I wasn’t referring to Carr, who is big. It was more those introduced this year. Just an impression I got when they came back out after the break, both at Ballybofey and Castlebar. I got this sense as I looked down at them grouping together – can this team really trouble/impose themselves here? Last Sunday we turned over a lot of ball against Meath, even if the conditions didn’t help.

  51. The balance in the forward line against Meath was poor – 4 small light fast players started who on a wet and windy day can struggle to win their own ball or struggle to go past a player while in possession.

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