Eoghan McLaughlin our MOTM from yesterday’s game

Photo: Irish Times (Inpho)

Yesterday’s Connacht final was tense and tight from first ’till last, the outcome decided by the minimum margin. The Man of the Match poll here on the blog didn’t exhibit the same close margins – Eoghan McLaughlin wins the award with an emphatic 32% of the vote.

His last-second intervention – in which he felled the in-rushing Seán Kelly, just outside the large parallelogram – prevented Galway from bagging the late goal that would have won the match and the Nestor Cup for them. Before that, though, the young Westport player had played a prominent part in proceedings, coming close to scoring a spectacular goal that, had it gone in, would surely have put the tie beyond Galway’s reach.

Eoghan is still only twenty years of age but since his debut off the bench against Meath in Navan back in February, he has forced his way into the first fifteen. With five successive starts at wing-back since the inter-county action resumed, I think it’s safe to say he’s now well established on the team. Little wonder too, in light of the strong performances he’s been putting in week after week and, in particular, at Salthill yesterday.

Others who featured strongly in the poll on yesterday’s Connacht final were the vastly experienced Chris Barrett (17% of the vote), GAA Player of the Week nominee Mattie Ruane (16%), young gun Tommy Conroy and captain fantastic Aidan O’Shea (both on 5%). Well done to all of them.

62 thoughts on “Eoghan McLaughlin our MOTM from yesterday’s game

  1. Some piece of work for a young Covey. Congrats Eoghan and to all the men yesterday. Keep it up and enjoy the next few weeks. Mayo all the way. A

  2. Great performance from him. Throughly
    deserved. Looking forward to seeing him and the other young bucks take over Croke park.
    The power. The pace of them. These boys will be a joy to watch in the wide open spaces.Let all us Mayo supporters sit back and enjoy. Were in bonus territory.

  3. Well done Eoghan.
    He was class and did what he had to do at the end to win us the title. Watching the Roscommon game live, I thought he played well. On second look, he was brilliant. Keep it up young man.

  4. For Eoghan McLoughlin to have the presence of mind and precice timing to rugby tackle that Galway guy just outside the box, shows a maturity beyond his years.
    If for no other reason but that tackle, he deserves to get the man of the match award.
    After comfortable wins over Leitrim and Roscommon this was the perfect result. Winning a match while having to use your get out of jailed card, is exactly what this team needed.
    And any over confidence that was there from those two matches, especially for the young guys, is now well and truly gone and that’s no bad thing.
    Let’s hope now for the next few weeks the team say safe, as any contacts with this covid virus could spell disaster… fingers crossed. ?

  5. Precision, Timing, Presence of Mind, and Excellent Technique with that late tackle. I’m in awe.
    Very few players could have completed that tackle successfully with such precise timing. As I said … excellent technique!!
    And it showed a mighty hunger which is a hallmark of the greatest players.

  6. Outstanding performances in every championship game so far and lots more to come from this raw talented player. No doubt inspired by fellow cove Keegan, Eoghan is the Gaelic football find of the season and on everyone’s shortlist for young player of the year.
    His ability to carry the ball at pace at the opposition is second to none. Continue going from strength to strength with every game.

  7. Great stuff from Eoghan Mc Laughlin. Tackle was a game saver and executed to perfection. Mullin and Conroy continue to impress. Consistently good performances from these 3 lads. Certain starters.

  8. Congratulations Eoghan thoroughly deserved MOM Award. What an engine! Kept it a bit lower and he had the goal scored. If all 26 start playing like this Young Player then God help Cork or Tipperary. Croke Park wide spaces should help Eoghan, Lee, Oisin and Paddy to bomb forward to link play and take scores.
    Onward Mayo keep the heads down and let’s improve the shooting and Fielding in the Middle.
    There is a new Mayo Dawn on the Horizon.
    Mhuigheo Abu.

  9. Declan Bonner goin on on RTE Radio 1 about Michael Murphy never getting frees etc…. exact same with AOS. I think its arguably worse for Aidan but these things seep through to the conscious of referees. No harm in Mayo, be it Horan or even someone like Andy Moran saying it publicly and making sure its heard. Andy is very popular nationally and seen as someone straight and believable.

  10. Well done to Eoghan. Dynamic and confident. Big deal getting to Croker for a young player so hopefully he is tuned in for it.

    On that ‘tackle’, the issue I’d have is Mayo should never have allowed that scenario to materialise with seconds to go. Naive.

  11. Well done to Eoghan, fully deserved.
    Can’t believe he’s only 20. I had him as 23/24 in my head for some reason.
    With him, Oisin and Tommy C, we have 3 of the top young players in the country.
    Let’s hope we can find a few more for the spine of the team (no’s 3, 6 and 9 are up for grabs).

  12. A great performance by Eoghan – I have seen him play for Westport and Rice College and always gives it his all. He will be a mainstay on team for years to come. I heard that interview too Mayonaze – clever of Declan Bonnar getting that out there for upcoming Ulster Final. Not a mention of course of M. Murphy screaming in Aido’s face as he was on the ground in McHale Park during the Mayo V Donegal game last summer.

  13. Willie Joe, you correctly mentioned (why do I need to state the obvious?), that Eoghan made his debut off the bench at Navan. I was right ‘on him’, sitting in the stand. I’m pretty sure he messed up the first ball, and maybe the second, and I said to my brother, crikey what’s Horan up to now?

    By the end of the game though, I was singing a different tune, and Eoghan had made quite an impression!

  14. Thanks again to the Mayo team for shortening our winter.
    Eoghan was top drawer on Sunday.
    Mattie was back to close to his best.

    What a lift to other players on the team when they see some of their team mates tearing in to the opposition.

    The team looks fresh and acres of room for improvement. 5 or 6 of these lads are still finding their feet but when you can win Connacht on a learning curve it’s a massive bonus.

    I hope we don’t pressurise the team too much now for the remainder of this championship. Let them make their mistakes and learn from the experiences.

    This new young look team are exciting and a joy to watch. Maybe far from the finished article but isn’t it the unexpected that has us all with our fingers and toes crossed.

    I wish them safe preparations for the semi final and hope they are all enjoying the journey. I know I am.

  15. Thanks Mayonaze. Terrific analysis there from Aidan O’Rourke. I think we ARE more cynical than he suggests, but his focus on ‘daft’ turnovers, not protecting the full-back line and poor shot selection is spot on.

    Of course one has to give some credit to Galway’s blanket strategy. Given Kevin Walshe’s influence, Joyce hadn’t too far to reach. It would have made it difficult for any opponent. I’m still scratching my head as to why we didn’t leave the FF line intact, for all of the first half. Even when we missed, Power’s save from Cillian for example, we were going in the right direction, whereas, for the second quarter Galway frustrated us and forced us to take wrong options. We did that against the Rossies, and though we were wasteful, we still had that one ‘almost’ won from a long way out. I say almost, because the Rossies were dead but not buried.

    That’s the kind of ruthlessness we need to rediscover: think Donegal in ’13, Galway ’13, Galway October ’20. Bury the opposition, because if not, they will come back. On Saturday, Galway didn’t bury Kilkenny, and they paid a high price.

  16. Aidan O Shea, Tommy Conroy and Cillian O Connor are a huge threat near the goals. Some teams counter this threat by encouraging their markers to bomb forward at every opportunity forcing Aidan and Cillian to track their runs and as a result drawing them far away from the danger area. Very clever and very effective and it also disrupts the shape of our attacking structure. .The first time I saw that done effectively was to Gooch in CP. Tommy Conroy has the speed and stamina to cope with this but I’m not sure Aidan or Cillian have even though they are excellent defenders.
    I would counter this by detailing others to do the chasing (maybe Kevin Mc, Conor Loftus, Tommy Conroy ) and leave the two lads up front. It would be a brave/foolish defence indeed who would leave either of them unattended for any length of time. What a target they would make for the long ball out of our defence on the counter attack!

  17. I know I’m a Galway man but I would have given MOTM to Tommy Conroy, he got limited possession but made the most of every ball he got, he’s a real find. Chris Barrett was also excellent, his positioning and no nonsense style is very difficult to coach. Eoghan McLoughlin had a very good second half but I believe Paul Kelly did well on him in the first half. Ruane was outstanding throughout and athletically is up with the best in Ireland, he is made for Croker and can score which is another bonus.

    Now don’t shoot me but where I thought you didn’t perform was AOS, he was being picked up by S Kelly who was Galway best player and on another day could have got 2 goals, he was also picking up Peter Cooke last July who was Galways best player and kicked 4 points. That would be a concern. I think other teams will target David Clarkes kickout but I still believe he is one of the best keepers in Ireland and they all put 1 or 2 astray.

  18. Interesting views there, Big Mike. Gracious too, I must say.

    Yes, quite a case for Tommy C. Three good points under pressure. Paul Kelly did do well, and to my mind picked up far too much breaking ball, a lot of it uncontested, which asks questions of the Mayo hyenas: where were they?

    On Aido, I’m convinced now he is quite a threat in the FF line – if he stays there. Kelly bombed forward a lot, but should have been picked up by others leaving Aidan in there most of the time. Then we have a target to aim at.

    On Galway, I thought Joyce was daft to bring Comer in. He was a gift to Mayo really, and added nothing to Galway attack IMO.

  19. No shooting here Big Mike, midfield is a huge concern for us. Not sure if we can live with just saying that we’ll let the opposition have their own kick outs and hope to get it back, despite the wobbles towards the end of the game I think Clarkes kicks out were grand so think we can live without high fielders in midfield. I think unless we have a plan B, if we play Cork for example in the semi, them winning most of their own kickouts would not end well for us

  20. What match was it that Galway had 16 in the parade? it was a Connacht final in Pearse Stadium and the sun was splitting the stones. Had to put the program on me head and had the colour running off it on to me head, quite the sight in Wards for the pints afterwards
    Think it might have involved P Joyce as well if memory serves, there were some questions about him or someone else being fit so they togged and marched around and then peeled off, daftness of the highest order.

  21. Thank you Eoghan.

    You have earned the respect of every Mayo man and woman.

    Best wishes for the future. Great performance, you and conroy, (and a fair few others) future of the county.

    Mayo abu.

    Proud as punch

  22. Big Mike, I won’t shoot you but their were 3 or 4 picking up Aidan O’Shea.
    Specsavers for you.
    I am relieved though to hear about David Clarke. I may need Specsavers there myself. I am very happy with him most of the time.

  23. Well done and well merited award Mc Laughlin the younger. Just shows we can pull through without some of our more established lads hitting the high notes…although from here on in we will need everyone firing. Roll on semi.

  24. I wonder will the new protocol with cup presentations stay in place for the All-Ireland final. As in, it will just be used for the presentation and taken away by someone and put under lock and key somewhere in Croke Park.
    Would be some kick in stones .

  25. Well deserved Eoghan. Great footballing brain with phenomenal timing. Can sense danger and oportunity in equal measure and has the bravery to take matters into his own hands. I expect to see you get this acknowledgement many more times in the years to come.

  26. @Paddyjoejohntom… Hopefully it will be our problem in December, winning Sam, lifting Sam , and leaving Sam after us in Croke Park…it just goes to show that life isn’t fair….If Dublin win Sam again, regardless of them not getting the Cannister to celebrate with, have selfies with, and have a drink out of, Sam would stay in the Capital… But if Mayo were to play Dublin in the Final, surely it could be played in MacHale Park…No crowd will be there in any case… That way Aiden could lift it, and leave it,… and it could stay in Mayo….A bit of Brasso and a cloth, and an effective Vacine very soon, and we could all get a drink out of it…. And if that’s not a very good reason why Mayo people should get the Vacine first, I don’t know what is… What does,Tequela, Poteen, Wine and Guinness all mixed up taste like, out of Cup that’s just got a lick of Brasso?..I dunno, guess we could ask the Dubs, they must be sick of the taste of Brasso by now!

  27. Good article as always by O Rourke. We really are susceptible to the long kickpass into our full forward line. Because we love to attack so much we leave ourselves bare at the back. Rochford sorted that out by using a sweeper or type of sweeper and it did protect us. Not sure if operating with sweeper sits easily with JH. Personally I love to watch the likes of McLaughlin, Mullin, and Durcan bomb forward as Leeroy, Vaughan and Higgins did in the past, but it is a risky strategy and is sometimes the reason why you see Aido, Cillian and Tommy C back inside our own 45 defending. Interestingly none of our full back line are natural full back liners, all probably more comfortable out the field. Trying to strike the right balance is the key.

  28. Just looking back at the panel for Sunday, I think James cannot afford to leave Boyler off the bench for Cork or Tipp in Croker, hes way ahead of Plunkett and Brickenden in terms of big match experience,Wonder was he injured the last day??
    Also have to leave Zippy and Parsons on the bench too, there is plenty of youth there now already.

  29. Zippy nearly cost us the game the last day when he came on, gave the ball away several times and was very lucky the ref gave a free out when he was on top of the Galway player. Brilliant servant to the County, but youd have to think Fionn Mcdonagh would have offered more coming on as an early sub.

  30. There was a chance to get that rustiness out of his system coming on as a sub when the game was won against Leitrim or Roscommon but it never happened Dave. Keith hasn’t become a bad player overnight and nobody will be harder on keith than himself. He will improve from this and still has much to offer

  31. Time waits for no man, and even less so in sports. James Horan is seeing all this in training so we need to be aware that the heroes of the last decade may be getting sliced apart in training and that decides who’s on the 26 man panel for the semi. We all want to think seamie and co are still able to cut it, but would you see seamie for example run the pitch like Ruane did and stick it over the bar? Aos at ff is a nice thought too, but what does he do when his marker takes off down the field? Let him go? Or chase him and remove himself from the scoring zone??
    Lots to consider and Mayo need to impose their own game and make the others think hard on how they counteract what is in front of them. This year we have a lot more speed and freshness, which is great. Keeping our ff line near the oppositions goal will be a problem that needs looking at. Galway brought them
    Out the field far too much so what will the better teams do ?

  32. Agreed Dave and those performing best in training should play. However comparing seamie and Mattie is like comparing chalk and cheese. Seamie is a defensive midflielder and has never been the man you’d want to see taking on a shot where as mattie is an offensive midfielder, more like Tom P.

    Also Aido at FF does work – maybe not in him directly scoring but he draws 2+ men to him at all times which frees up space for Tommy, Cillian and the half forwards to score. Equally while one of those men may take off down the field the primary marker will remain tight to aido at all times, sure if they got turned over out the field and aido was free on the edge of the square it’d be good night Irene

  33. If aos marker stays close then why is aos spotted in his own halfback line? They be be drawing him out. Unless Mayo are not coaching it right, he should be at ff and stay there regardless of what’s going on further out. A turnover by Mayo in midfield is a few seconds from him getting the pass near the square. Not possible if he’s in his own halfback line. Maybe he’s frustrated if the ball isn’t being kicked in and he’s out the field trying to get involved. If that’s the case then it’s poor coaching and instruction, and even with that, they are well able for nearly all opponents. What would they do if the game plan was set out and stuck to?

  34. In the last few years any time Andy’s marker went up the field it was Kevin Mac or Jason Doc who tracked him. We should have the same now with AOS. Let some other players track him and if we turn over the ball – which we do very well – get it in fast to AOS.
    We don’t want to see AOS tracking back 60 meters in Croke Park and struggling then to get forward

  35. Brian Padden, I think it was Michael Donnellan who was the 16th man that day. There was some doubt over his participation but he did play, to the best of my recollection.

  36. Looked back at the second half last night. Was just remarking to a friend that I didn’t think Clarkie did that badly on second viewing, and some of the problems arose from our fielders. Then along comes Edwin McGreal in the Mayo News (behind a paywall this one) with a superb analysis, showing that 80% of our second half kicks out were successful – against 79% for Galway. McGreal makes the point that we are more difficult to press as we have very good ball players at the back.

    McGreal had an analysis of turnovers – Mullin and Barrett the kings there.

  37. I am afraid the Aido at full forward experiment is not working as presently played – I can not remember a single score in our 3 championship games coming as a result of a long ball to Aidan with him either catching it or laying it off to a team mate. Neither can I remember a real threat of a goal from a ball played into him.
    We will not win an All Ireland playing a full forward who does not carry a real scoring threat.
    Galway played one of their smallest defenders on Aidan – Sean Kelly with obvious instructions to simply stay goal side of Aidan & wait for others to surround him if he got possession & several times he was bottled up with ball recycled back out the field.
    Surely it would make more sense to move him back to centre forward where he could assist midfield,make a very effective target for kickouts & stop opposing players from breaking out of defense. I believe Coen would provide a much bigger scoring threat at full forward.
    If we are to persist with Aidan at full forward however we need to change our tactics – at present Aidan always seems to be isolated when ball is played in – to use long ball effectively you need runners around him taking ball at speed the moment he receives it or palmed down to them which should then create real scoring opportunities.
    Secondly the quality of ball played to him at present is very poor with most bouncing before he can get to it or just hit aimlessly in expecting him to perform miracles in winning it – all of these are won with back to goal resulting in him being bottled up immediately & support players too slow to reach him.
    This needs urgent work over the next few weeks coaching early high ball played in with designated forwards taking ball off him at speed resulting in simple scores.
    We all remember how effective Donaghy was in this regard & how much other Kerry forwards benefited from his layoffs.
    If coached properly this could be very effective but plan at present seems aimless & providing very little scoring threat.
    This is no criticism of Aidan -I have tremendous admiration for all he has done for Mayo football for many years.

  38. This Galway team will win an All-Ireland in the not too distant future. I hope Mayo win one before then – preferably this year.

  39. I seen a stat on Galway’s social media page that they have tried out 11 different goalies since 2015 . Jaysus thats some turn over and we are always arguing and debating over our 2 men 🙂

  40. Claremorris Native – the ideal ball into a full forward is when it bounces in front of them. It’s much easier to play in accurately and easier for Aidan to win. A high ball played in is always a lottery as it’s very easy for a full back to break it.

    Aidan didn’t have much success at full forward against Roscommon but Conor Daly was behind him and mullooly was in front. With all the attention around Aidan, Cillian and Diarmuid got more space and ran up a score. It was the same thing on Sunday when Aidan was at full forward. Sean Kelly was tight to him and Mulkerrin was sweeping in front. He’s taking enough attention from the opposition to keep him at FF IMO.

  41. Id be happy enough if Galway were consistently competitive towards the top in the future, haven’t really made any impression since they last won the thing.

    What I don know is that there is talent to work with coming through and heres a teaser lads.

    The best of the whole lot of them coming through is a grandson of the man regarded as the best Mayo player of all time.

  42. Completely disagree Wide Ball -everybody knows the the ball that plays havoc is the high ball into the square !

    Low ball is grand if played into the likes of Andy Moran but what’s the point of playing a big man on the edge of the square & then playing the ball into his feet !

  43. Fact guys, high ball into the square has not worked against the Dubs in all finals from 2011 to 2019.
    The dropping high ball is too predictable and can be read and snuffed out by good defenders working together.
    Look at the 2016 finals for evidence.
    That bit of space one on one is the ideal scenario.
    Mayo one or two guys at the moment that are ideal for this job.

  44. Some of ye guys are living in the old football days,
    When the goalkeeper kicked out a 50:50 ball to midfield, only the midfielders would contest, it was caught and then hoofed forward 50:50 again only 1 defender and 1 forward contested the ball, this is how we played the game in Mayo in the 1980’s.
    Mick O Dwyer was way ahead of his time with Kerry, other Counties just didn’t know or could not see this.
    Mickey Harte invented the all out put them under pressure / suffocating the opposition
    game, Jim McGuinness brought in the ultra defensive game and Jim Gavin changed football into a Professional game.

  45. The point of playing Aidan on the edge of the square is that he’s very difficult to mark 1 on 1. Sean Andy tried it in Tuam and conceded a load of frees. Keegan’s goal in the 2016 replayed final is the perfect way to use Aidan as a target man. A good kick pass bouncing up on the edge of the D, Aidan wins it, turns and drives at goal. Then offload to a runner coming through.

    High dropping ball onto the square is just hit and hope. For every Mark Keane goal vs Kerry, there are 15 or 20 that come to nothing.

  46. Well done to Eoghan Mc. Hugely impressive young fella. Hopefully will continue in the same vein into the future. Tommy C also looks to be the real deal (looks like a young Mick O’Dwyer). Great balance, can carry the ball through the tackle and has a knack for finding space in tight situations (like Kevin Mc). And most importantly, has that natural scoring ability that can’t be coached (hope I’m not jinxing him). That’s something we don’t often see in Mayo. Oisin M hugely impressive as well. Good luck to them and all the panel and management in the coming weeks.
    @Big Mike, where is Cooke? He was superb in Limerick last year. Looked to be physically a match for AOS on the day and scored some wonderful points.

  47. Why do we never seem to have a player waiting inside anytime a ball comes back off the upright ?

    We never seem to have players following in for those balls that come back off the upright.

  48. Revellino – we lost an all Ireland by not having someone watch the ball off the post. Do you remember Cillians late free that came off the post against Dublin and no one alert to it. You are right it has happened so many times. Very annoying in games of small margins.

  49. I think Eoghan definitely deserves MOM for the way he drove us forward all day. Chris Barrett is inspirational with the timing of his tackles but for number of possessions and yards carried, Eoghan was our best performer.
    Aidan O Rourke piece wad right apart from our 2nd half turnovers which were mostly down to 5 game fatigue. If we had 14 days I think we’d have won the 2nd half aswell with far fewer turnovers conceded an not be having canaries.

  50. Revellino, it’s not exactly the same thing but I notice Diarmuid making a speciality of hanging around, or drifting into to the edge of, goal under a long ball kicked in for a point – in case it drops short. He has been lethal here at least twice in big matches – Mayo v Kerry replay 2017; Mayo v Kerry League Final 2019, and I saw him do it again not long ago. It’s brilliant to watch.

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