With the chisellers off school (as they are for the whole week) and the sun shining brightly, there was nothing for it today but to pack a picnic and head for the zoo. As you’d expect, Buddy (that’s him in the picture when he was a bit smaller) proved the major hit of the day, though the bare-arsed monkeys did run him a close second.
Meanwhile, back on the farm, so to speak, there’s an avalanche of stories to talk about, most of which you’ve probably seen already while we were out gawping at the animals. First up, there’s a match report by Sean Rice in the Mayo News from Ballyhaunis yesterday. He reckons we won by a point, which isn’t what I heard yesterday or what’s been reported on both gaaboard.com or the Laois site on Hoganstand.com by one of the punters from the O’Moore County that was there. (The same guy reckons that the penalty wot saved our bacon was a dubious one but then, as Mandy Rice-Davies put it all those years ago, he would say that, wouldn’t he?)
The juniors lost to Roscommon in the Connacht semi-final at the weekend (match report here). I’ve never fully got with the programme as regards who is eligible at junior inter-county level, I must admit, and my sense of puzzlement has only deepened when I see that Colm Boyle (that’s right, Colm Boyle the Mayo SENIOR panellist) and Donal Shine (the brightest talent to come out of Sheepstealing territory for several years and a certain senior panellist for the Rossies this year) were both playing in that junior match. And Boyle got injured too. And Mayo lost. Jesus wept.
That’s all the on-field stuff but, as you’d expect, more ink in this week’s Mayo News has been devoted to what’s happening off the field, in particular in relation to the Johnno and Mac issue. Daniel Carey has an article about the online reaction to the affair, which just proves that he’s been reading this thread on gaaboard.com all week. (Haven’t we all, I suppose?) I don’t like the headline, though: the sub-editor must have thought he was being really clever but does it serve any purpose for a Mayo paper to be drawing analogies between the Johnno-Mac situation and that blue murderous bust-up that occurred in Saipan? I think not.
Kevin McStay also uses the Saipan metaphor in his column where he weighs in quite heavily behind Johnno. Kev breaks little new ground in his telling of the story and it’s obvious that Mac’s less than straightforward attitude towards life (which was brilliantly illustrated in this article by Ewan McKenna in last Sunday’s Tribune) isn’t to the army man’s likening. Yeah, Kev, I know what you mean: I bet Mac would be fairly crap at shining buttons and making his bunk without a crease at 5am too … but, you know, he’s still the best option we’ve got at centre-half forward and it’s not exactly news that he can be a bit on the awkward side.
Kev’s take on the affair is fairly mild, however, when set against the opinion put forward by Sean Rice in his column: the Voice of Experience appears to be auditioning for the part of Johnno’s campaign manager in his utterly one-sided assessment of the issue. “In baring his soul to a Dublin newspaper Ciaran McDonald has re-awakened memories that would have been best left undisturbed among the football canons of the subconscious” thunders Rice. The footballing canons of the subconscious, eh? Unconscious, more like it. Maybe that’s why he got the score wrong at the Haunis yesterday.