Dublin: May and not a Mayo flag to be seen

I recently started a job as a journalist with Joe.ie in Dublin. It was all a bit hectic, one minute you’re in Ballina talking to Maurice Sheridan about the ’97 final against Sligo for the Western People preview the following week, the next, you’re moving everything you’ve ever owned to the big smoke.

The last week was a bit of blur, between starting the new gig, adjusting to the different climate (they don’t say “Mayo for Sam” as much up here) and trying not to get lost (I failed miserably on several occasions). I completely forgot about the game this weekend.

It wasn’t until this morning, typing heavily at my desk, when I came across an advert from Paddy Power, that it hit me.

Those clever clogs in the PR cog machine at the giant bettors had sent a van all the way to the home of the Chicago Cubs in America. The Cubs too had a supposed cursed on their baseball team who landed their first Major League Baseball World Series last year after 70-odd years in the wilderness.

The green van parked outside the stadium read something along the lines of ‘any advice for breaking curses, this is getting embarrassing now.’

I laughed, and got on Twitter straight away to message the man behind the operation. He is a Galway man called Féilim Mac An Iomaire and the name rang a bell for a reason. A few years ago, he rose to fame for taking out a big billboard in Merrion Square in Dublin in the hope of getting a job.

He pumped all his lives savings into this billboard which was entitled ‘Jobless Paddy’ and long story short Jobless Paddy got a job with Paddy Power.

We had a chat and from the brief conversation with him, I can only imagine the craic that is had in the Paddy Power office when it comes to bringing these plans to fruition.

I hadn’t completely forgotten about Mayo, just being on the news desk instead of the sports desk constantly just means you’re not involved 24/7 like was once the case. The sports and news desks are close in proximity in the office, so when any breaking sport news comes through, it echoes over to our channel too.

Most of the time, it passes in one ear and out the other but when I heard Aidan O’ Shea was getting attacked about not being involved in a team huddle after a challenge game against Meath, my ears soon perked up.

As I was told the former Meath footballer Bernard Flynn was complaining about the Breaffy man taking selfies with kids after the game, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It seems like there has been a constant attack on AOS since he took a dive against Fermanagh, a media hunt on the Mayo man. Is sports news really that slow during the middle of the week that we have to comment on minute things like this?

Imagine the scenario: a few kids shouting O’ Shea’s name and he ignores them and instead joins the huddle. I’m sure Bernard Flynn would have been singing a different tune then about how AOS was now too big for his boots, that he was ignorant, arrogant and a snob.

Lord above is there any right answer?

Photo: Irish Mirror

Signing autographs happens after every game, if this happened on Sunday, it wouldn’t even be news. It shouldn’t be news any way. It shows the height of AOS as a GAA figure that his autograph is asked for after a challenge game. Really what is the harm in that? Just because little kids are growing up idolising O’Shea. I wonder how many kids dream of being a player à la Bernard Flynn when they get older?

Then Flynn went on to argue that O’ Shea wasn’t in the same league as Michael Murphy. Of course, he’s not in the same league as Murphy, he’s a different player, it’s like discussing where broccoli stands in relation to apples when discussing fruit. Fair enough, we tried him in full-forward a few times but if you’re expecting O’Shea to be a marquee forward like Murphy, you’re going to be mistaken.

Before I left for the train station, we were asked to fill out six things for an article that was heading out later. It was predictions, your four provincial winners, Player of the Year and All-Ireland winners.

My heart and head said Mayo for Connacht. It won’t be easy but we’ve learned from last year. No team get taken for granted, we learned that with Galway last year and Sligo learned it with New York this year.

No matter what the calibre, class and colours of the team you’re playing, each game needs to be treated like an All-Ireland final. The mentality of six games to glory is gone out the window. You take it game by game in the hope of reaching that glory as a result. And that involves any spills and thrills that may occur on the way. Last year’s qualifier route was a happy and different experience and it’s nice to know that if we don’t win Connacht, there are other options available.

For the final answer, my heart screamed Mayo, but my Joe.ie head wrote otherwise. There is another Darragh that sits across from me that’s from Dublin. He had put down Mayo to win, I had put down Dublin, the editor thought he had mixed the two answers up. But he hadn’t, Dublin Darragh had that outsider faith that is especially fantastic to see coming from a Dublin man but when you’re on the outside looking in, it’s easy to say that.

History has told me not to get my hopes up though. I know in my heart and soul that we are one of, if not the only, team that could put it up the champions and that was evident across 140 minutes last year.

But for the moment, I’m not thinking about September. Putting Dublin down on the paper is the easy answer, but Mayo don’t go for the easy answer. They take the hard route, the underdog route.

As I headed for Heuston on Friday evening, I noticed the green and red headbands tied around suitcases that were following suit closely behind me. I was happy to be heading home, to see the flags draped across the shops and to meet up for a pint with the lads to talk about the game.

I hope that I am just as happy heading back up Sunday. It would be nice to head into the office Monday morning with a resounding win that announces Mayo are on the road again.

And who knows, 2017, could just be the year that the lions of Mayo football follow in the footsteps of the Cubs.

30 thoughts on “Dublin: May and not a Mayo flag to be seen

  1. Good read. Bflynn being very picky re AOS!! I think its probably due to the fact the Meath fans have none of their own to look up to!! I recall from the article Aidan went back to the huddle. So he kept everyone happy! Non story

  2. Had a mighty night in the pub once with Feilim.
    There was another Galway lad there. A Thai Kickboxing, Indian Ocean diving lunatic.
    We were back and forth about what Mayo or Galway could or could not do.
    The lunatic lad was retelling one of his tales, an illegal dive off an Asian ferry and then realizing once he was in the water that he had to climb up a very high pier. The lunatic lad was retelling and reanimating with his arms in the air his freestyle pier climb when he interrupted himself with perfect comic timing and a good hefty shout “Mayo could never do this!!”
    We had to admit defeat in the repartee stakes at that stage 🙂
    His other tale was of invitation kickboxing in Thailand I think it was. As I recall then he fell in with that crew for many months of gruelling kickboxing training. As I said The Deer Hunter meets The Sawdoctors. Myself and all the rest of group including Feilim just basking in the glow of this lads lunacy.

  3. Enjoyed that, Darragh. Best of luck in the new gig, will miss your contributions to the WP!

  4. Fair play to you Darragh, getting the job with Joe.ie, best of luck with that!

    You know what the gas thing is, the Galway hurlers have an even worse record than our footballers, yet they rarely get labelled as bottlers, chokers etc., like we do. They got rid of their manager too, got relegated and didn’t win the All-Ireland last year but again it was us that got ridiculed and not them. A strange one was that they didn’t make it back to Division 1 this year again either as they lost to Wexford but they did win the competition with a great win over Tipp. Yet they will still be operating from Division 2 next year. Again imagine the ridicule we’d be getting if we were in Division 2 for two years in a row, after getting rid of our managers.

    We have won 3 football All-Ireland titles and lost 12 finals. The Galway hurlers have won 4 and lost 19 finals. So there you have it.

    Best of luck to our lads on Sunday. I just want to see a controversy free win for us, controversy seemed to follow us around in a lot of our games last year. I’d like to see us play with a bit of anger and ruthlessness in our game this year as well, i.e. try to channel all of the negativity about us in the right way. Roll on the game!

  5. Superb read.
    Bringing tears to my eyes as we start on another adventure.
    Rubbish from Flynn.
    Here’s hoping?

  6. Can I ask one favour of all Mayo fans, please don’t buy into the agenda that’s currently being built around us. When RTE ask’s for “Mayo 4 Sam” pictures on twitter, they don’t have our best interests at heart, they want to make a skit of us. The inordinate amount of coverage we are getting this year is worrying. Tyrone have won 3 All Irelands in the last 15 years, are a top 6 team and they barely get a byword, yet we are dominating every sports page in the country. I see a comparison to the english soccer team starting to happen, building a team up for a great fall, with Aiden as the pantomime villan.

  7. Personally I’m going to try and enjoy this years championship, its been so intense since 2012 as a supporter , the games have all been hurried and less enjoyable occasions . so deep breathes for me , maybe a flask of tea and sandwiches tmrw.

    Best of luck to you darragh with your new job. Best of luck to the players and management too in 2017, no matter what happens this year , you all have been a credit to yourselves over the last few years, restored massive pride in the county . best mayo team I have ever watched , I was 40 yesterday .

  8. Totally agree Liam. The sad thing is, plenty of Mayo people have joined on the bandwagon to be seen on tv.

  9. Congrats on the job Darragh. Excellent easy piece to read. You’ll go far.

    Mention of joe.ie twigged my memory – how are the County Board getting on with Niall McGarry in appointing that Commercial Director?

    No surprise that they got rid of the story from the media and then we get to another summer without opportunities being exploited.

    This group of players sure has so many elements pulling against them. Good luck to them in 2017 as they battle the odds again

  10. Congrats on your move Darragh and really enjoyed your post..Brought me back to 04 and 06 when my window was covered with mayo decorations in a Dublin school ..Even got a mayo scarf from one of the Dublin mothers! It appears we are the Golden goose for the media…To see Bernard pull a story from a challenge match with little reference to the game speaks volumes..Hoping for a drama and lateral passing free game tomorrow..Gwan Mayo!

  11. The only solution to the Aiden O Shea situation would be something like this,

    At the end of the game when the kids were asking for autographs and photos he should have brought them all into the team huddle and start signing his name and smiling for photos at the same time while also taking part in the huddle business. Whether that meant giving a speech or listening to another player giving a speech while the signing and smiling went on. You know all at the same time.

    Sure while he was at it he could have wedged an owl broom handle between his arse cheeks and swept the floor as he moved along. You know, make himself useful for something like.

    Would that keep the sour Meath man happy i wonder?

  12. best of luck in the new role Darragh. great read too! I see you went for Mayo in the end! (on Joe. ie 🙂

  13. Agree with Liam. We are the laughing stock of the country, between sky ads, paddy power stunts, player comparisons, endless pointless articles/attacks on our players, on top of the annual Mayo for Sam antics. Yes it’s very much like the England soccer team. Like them, we are the circus in town, we are the soap opera. Like them everyone wants us to get so far and then fail, preferably in bizarre circumstances. Penalties, own goals, clash of heads, selection mistakes etc the more bizarre the better.
    Would love to see Rochford come out and take exception to this and immediately implement an all out media ban. However unfortunately I won’t be holding my breath on that one.

  14. Good post there AH NOW. I too want a Ferguson approach of us against them or against the world. But presumably Liam Horan, who does know a thing or two about media strategy, is advising otherwise.

  15. I think the point of Liam Horan or anyone else having an influence on the current narrative is well passed Catcol. There is a national fatigue with the team and county now, a sort of resentment. I genuinely believe most people wanted us to win an All Ireland, but now they’re getting frustrated and pissed off at percieved squandered chances. It’s something we within the county have lived with for 30 plus years so we’re immune to it, but others get frustrated when they give their support and don’t see results. As was said above, now is the time for the seige mentality, the us against the world attitude. It’s fight or flight time and as a member of the panel told me, regardless of what they think of Aiden O’Shea, they are all taking the attacks on him personally and it’s angering them.

  16. Yep agree with liam here totally , its become a right friggin circus now. Personally I’m stopping getting into debates on social media with thicks who revel in the comment section of these articles which are taking a pop at all things Mayo. Some of these ejits have never seen the sky over mayo but are experts on everything Mayo. Fuck them all.

  17. Good article in todays Irish Times by Keith Duggan entitled The outrageous crime of being Aidan OShea its witty and well worth a read About time someone in the Dublin media stood up for our Aido

  18. Well done Darragh. I work with a load of Dublin people and can tell you that the Mondays after a Mayo win are always good. The days after the losses against Dublin pass quickly as well as the Dublin crowd quickly move on to the soccer afterwards.
    In relation to the crap being written about Aidan O’Shea, I would ask everyone to remember the way that the press and rain man Brolly got on Leeroy’s back last year. He responded by channelling it back to them with a number of class performances that eventually landed him the Player of the Year.
    This could be Aidan’s year. Expect to see him unleashed early in the 2nd half tomorrow and lay down a marker.

  19. The last team Sligo wanted to see was the crap thrown at aido this week. You can garantee he’ll be raring to get on that pitch tomorrow.

  20. Jk mayo, Keith Duggan is a Donegal man living in Galway. The Irish times may be printed in Dublin but it has journalists all over the country. Malachy clerkin is a Monaghan man.

  21. Good point Luigi. I certainly hope that the likes of Tomas OSe and Brehony are made eat their words by the end of the season. Nothing would be sweeter or more well deserved.

  22. The Cubs went from 1908 to 2016 without winning the World Series…! That’s almost double our current famine!

  23. Holy God what’s happening to Mayo followers on this site ? all getting sucked into this media bashing of Aidan and all things Mayo. For fuck sake guys could ye not just ignore some of these negative comments which are printed only to sell papers and give hase-been players a lift up the ladder. It’s understandable we are in the firing line this week as we’re the first of the big guns to take to the field for the new season and it’s only natural that owing to our failure to land the big one, we are in the eye of the storm right now.

  24. You sanitised my point willie joe rendering it pointless. I d rather you ignore it instead of censoring it.

  25. Best wishes Darragh on your new assignment. Dublin is a great town for a young man like yourself. Give it your best shot always and keep the faith.

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