Driving on

The feature by Christy O’Connor in today’s Irish Independent about Richie Feeney and the extract from the interview by Mike Finnerty in the Mayo News with James Horan have already been mentioned in the comments but both are worthy of further discussion.

The piece on Richie – which is here – is at one level a lovely, elegiac reflection on family connections, dwelling as it does on the tragic death of Richie’s father Ger just over three years ago. But it’s also an interesting addition to the post-All-Ireland Mayo GAA literature as Richie categorically denies any suggestion of a bust-up between him and James Horan in the days leading up to the final – he says squarely that all rumours to this effect are “completely untrue” – and while expressing disappointment at not having featured against Dublin he manfully states “you have to respect the manager’s decision.”

What’s really uplifting, though, is what he has to say about the team’s prospects for next year and their absolute determination to keep driving on until they finally achieve the goal that we all want to see this group attain. I’d be the first to admit that my own belief in our ability to get over the line has been pretty much on the floor since September but my spirits fairly rose this morning when I read this:

I don’t think the defeat is going to have that much of an effect on us. This group of players are just so driven that we are not going to give up until we get there. I don’t see any reason why we can’t win next year’s All-Ireland.

We lost two county finals with the club before we eventually won it. It could take one or two more All-Ireland finals with Mayo before we win one. But we will get there.

While we have lads like Richie in our ranks, we’ve got to have confidence in our ability to do so.

In the same vein, James Horan’s interview with the Mayo News – which is here (this is just a taster, the full interview will be in next Tuesday’s paper) – contains plenty of fighting talk about 2014.

This is James’ first in-depth interview since the final and so he’s also taken the opportunity to hit back firmly at all the empty chatter that was swirling about the place in the aftermath of the final. Having had my comment moderation hard hat on here pretty much 24/7 for a few weeks after the final, I can empathise fairly well with James on this and I’m not surprised that he’s let rip in the way that he has, labelling much of the stuff that was being trotted out as “complete and utter rubbish.”

He talks about the effect that all this babble has had on the players – stating that some were “devastated” by it – before caustically stating the following:

I wish there was more noise during the game than what I ever heard after it.

I know some people might think that the way I moderate the site here, in particular by the way I try to ensure that criticisms voiced of players and management are measured and by refusing to give a platform to unsubstantiated rumours, can be a pain in the arse at times. James’ comments above, however, make me more determined than ever to persevere with this approach. As I keep saying, they’re our lads and as supporters what we need to do is support their efforts on the field. Criticise specifics, for sure, but leave the other stuff out of it.

Anyway, back to James who clearly didn’t do the interview just to have a pop at all and sundry. Like Richie, what James has to say about the year to come is encouraging. He admitted that the defeat to Dublin was a ‘very big hit’ but it’s clear his focus is now squarely on the future:

The players have been determined and focused over the last three years and I would say, even at this stage, before we get back at it again, they’ve never been more focused or more determined to drive on.

And it’s obvious that James still has great belief in his players and their ability to push on in 2014:

There’s real power in the group, in the unit. It has absolute potential to get a lot better. 2014 is a big year, a big challenge for us, and we’ll go foot to the floor for it.

The full interview with James will appear in next week’s paper and it’s clearly one not to be missed.

29 thoughts on “Driving on

  1. Great piece on Richie. And I see via Hogan Stand that Danny Kirby has been cleared (on a technicality!) to play on Sunday.

  2. All very positive stuff from Richie and James it’s the way to go forward and provided lessons are learned from this year’s experience there is no reason why we can’t be up there again. An addition of a few potent forwards and the next time the job will be finished
    Best of luck to Richie and Castlebar on Sunday

  3. Yes a great piece by Christy O’Connor, Feeney for sure a man truly steeped in the great Gaelic tradition of Mayo, someone who deserves all the success that comes his way and we wish him and the Mitchell’s team all the best in the Connaught Final on Sunday.

    Some fighting talk there from Horan all right, but that’s what one would expect in the aftermath of loosing another final. I thought that was a kinda cheep shot criticizing the supporters for their lack of noise. Supporters normally react to what’s going on, on the pitch and some of his sideline decisions which seemed a bit puzzling at the time, didn’t help the cause.

    That said it’s good to hear some positive soundings coming from him and that can only feed into the panel and lift their moral facing into another long season in their quest for Sam !!!!

  4. I wanted jh to get the job , so iam happy with what he has achieved so far and am sure he will get us over the line I hope all the players who has put so much in over the last few years get their reward and that we get a few more forwards

  5. Well I hope that the so-called ‘finger on the pulse’ merchants and conspiracy theorists, read this article.We all heard the bullshit post final,but didn’t run to print with it.Of course we were down,but lashing out like a wounded dog serves no purpose whatsoever.As someone who has gotten offside with the mod on occasion(but never for cheap shots at the players/management),I can honestly say that WJ is doing a fine job,especially post AIF,when the comments were drifting towards HS level- but the Captain took control of the bridge and we’re back sailing in calmer waters towards Sam Maguire port!

  6. ” I thought that was a kinda cheep shot criticizing the supporters for their lack of noise. Supporters normally react to what’s going on, on the pitch and some of his sideline decisions which seemed a bit puzzling at the time, didn’t help the cause. ”

    I think Mayo MacHale he was having a go at the people spreading all the rumours about bust ups in the camp rather than the supporters at the final. It does out of context look like a dig at all of us in the stands but I would say he meant the doom merchants made some much noise they were as noisy as the supporters in the stands.
    When has James had a cheap shot at a Mayo supporter or player during his tenure?( I can’t remember any) I would be surprised if he started now but maybe the pressure/frustration might be getting to him?

  7. how many here would buy an adult sized t shirt with “Mayonator” on it?
    I think Mayo could easily have the teams well funded if things were marketed properly, 130,000 in the county and who knows how many outside, a good portion would buy it because it looks cool and they would get something back for their money, a nice clothing product and satusfaction of financially supporting the teams.
    Endless possibilities, I think a designer and marketing team could make Mayo a colorful county to follow, we already know we are producing the players.

  8. Yes Crete Boom, I’m happy to go with your take on that line. But living out of the County for more years than I care to remember, maybe I wasn’t as aware as others of all those rumours doing the rounds. Anyway it’s onwards and upwards from here and looking forward to reading the full interview next week….

  9. Jesus I took great heart from them interviews , they really send out a signal of a solid unit, unbreakable spirit .

    The two articles were just what we needed as supporters .2014 let’s be havin ya.

  10. Dead right the “finger on the pulse” merchants were absolutely out in force on this website and WJ certainly had a tough job charting a course through choppy waters but unsurprisingly they seem to have disappeared in recent weeks leaving just the old faithful commenting on the site. I guess we can expect to see them back on the scene in August next year if we reach another semi final! Best of luck to the Mitchells on Sunday!

  11. WJ, tell your cousin that there’s great marketing potential in that poster….especially with Christmas coming up! I’d buy a T-shirt no problem!

  12. The news is good at last and should serve to evaporate the last dregs of the post AI blues.
    I agree with RF and JH, this latest defeat will make this bunch stronger and more determined, I don’t think that many counties will be looking forward to facing us in the coming year and I especially include the Dubs as this side has a habit of being able to even scores.
    Hope Richie and his team mates get to win the CCC tomorrow, it would be great for all the county and only add to the achievements of Kiltane and the Ballyglass ladies.
    Onwards. MaighEo Abú

  13. There’s a lovely song called “Where have all the flowers gone?” and there is a line in it that goes, ” When will they ever learn”. So true.

  14. Very encouraging to read those interviews. I want to believe everything I read re the commitment for next year. However, it’s very easy talk about being fully committed etc next year. The truth will unfold when they actually have to do the hard yards again and we will see then if their spirit is broken.

    Best of luck to Mitchells

  15. If it was printed on a middling good quality t shirt it would sell in the thousands. It would only be fair to use it solely to fund the teams and a pay for its own costs.
    Can you imagine the flags, hats, kids copybook covers, school bags? All being bought and each item giving a few euro to the fund.
    Maybe this living in the land of overkill is getting to me, but, really Mayo can easily self fund the teams and keep the ball rolling on a good thing like we have.

  16. Targeting the National league will be one of JH’s objectives next year objectives before launching an all out assault on the championship. Castlebar, Kiltane and U21 players who have impressed in recent months to get their chance to make an impact…

  17. This hasting cup the 21s will be involved in is going to make it hard for them to be involved in the senior set up.

  18. From 5 behind at half time to a 4 pt win AET against the AI champs is some show, congrats Castlebar Mitchells and forward Mayo football goes

  19. Excellent display from the Mitchels. The first half display did not give much reason for hope but they were a new team in the second half. To make a second comeback to level was outstanding even allowing that the sending off of Ian Kilbride levelled things up after Barry Moran’s early exit. In extra time they were well on top and played with great calmness. One thing was clear – they need to get ball into their full forward line quicker. Too often, esp. in the first half they were short passing to players already marked and losing possession as a result and were also forced to shoot from poor positions because they were allowing the Brigid’s defence to organise themselves. It also meant that Shane Curran collected more hopeful ball than any of the full forward line. Richie Feeney has to be complimented on an excellent game – as had Alan – but his mistake with a short sideline ball let Brigid’s off the hook. Too progress further these mistakes will have to be eliminated.
    I heard on my way home that Shane Curran is thinking of retiring. Anybody who likes the eccentric side of football will miss him. He has been entertaining all sides ever since his penalty goal in the Connacht Minor Final [1989?]

  20. Congratulations to Castlebar on what was a truly great day for the club and for Mayo football. A truly gritty performance that was full of heart and an example to everyone that you should never give up no matter how much the odds may be stacked against you. Well done and best of luck in the semis against Dr Crokes.

  21. Brilliant stuff for Castlebar.
    I feared the worst after Moran got sent off, but it seemed to galvanise the team. They showed great spirit.
    They have some battle ahead against Crokes, but after winning in Galway and Roscommon against two of the fancied sides to win the AI, can’t see why they can’t go all the way now.

    Curran is some auld headcase, great entertainment just watching him.
    I think the TG4 camera spent more time on him than they did on the game.

  22. Hi All,
    I hope all the good people of Mayo are well and still proud of what you did this year and you still have a great team to bring to 2014, but please don’t think I am being rude or insulting but I just want to mention something after todays win for St.Vincent’s. Although they are not my club here in Dublin I just want to acknowledge my hero Heffo (RIP) we won the League, the Leinster, the All-Ireland and his club are doing so well in the year he passed. He was a true legend of Gaelic Football and some forward too….best of luck to Mayo in the league and Championship in 2014

    Kind Regards,
    Martin the Dub

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