Feeney’s annual sounding-off + change of date for Sligo clash

Sean FeeneyLike the Late, Late Toy Show, the appearance of all these temporary skating rinks, hairshirt budgets and the return of Operation Freeflow, County Secretary Sean Feeney’s annual pronouncements have become part of the jolly pre-Yuletide landscape.  The Indo has a piece this morning summarising (in a scrupulously fair manner, no doubt – this is the Indo we’re talking about after all) the main tidbits in Sean’s report to next week’s annual convention meeting. I should say that I haven’t seen (or indeed don’t know how one would get one’s hands on) Sean’s full report so what follows is based solely on the Indo’s summation of the County Sec’s words.

As I noted around this time last year, Sean’s take on things tends to be a mixture of the staggeringly obvious and the more insightful, with a bit of controversy thrown in for good measure and this year’s version appears to be along the same lines.  The Indo’s headline, understandably, focuses on his rather harsh criticism of the manner in which we lost to Meath back in August. He apparently describes that performance as a “total collapse” and says that the way we lost the game was “inexcusable”.  That’s a bit over the top, I reckon.

Sure, the last ten minutes of that game was hugely painful from our perspective but in the team’s defence it needs to be recognised that we had already endured three or four Thierry Henry-esque injustices at that stage (which, taken together, represented a ten-point swing to the Royals) and our two most potent forwards had both gone off injured by then.  The heads dropped, for sure, and the way we let an average Meath team steam past us was hugely depressing but I’m not sure the kind of criticism that Sean doles out is really warranted at this point and I’m not sure what’s to be gained from it either.  For my money, if anyone still deserves a shoe up the hole at this remove, it’s that clown Jim Kilty for coming out a few days before the game with that asinine, self-serving nonsense about how we were the fittest team he’d ever seen.  I’d say the Meath lads are still cracking their holes laughing about that one.

Sean puts forward a number of proposals in his report which are worth a mention, such as cutting inter-county panels to 24 (I don’t see the point in that, seeing as your first team is essentially a group of twenty players; four more doesn’t leave you much to fall back on) and reducing the time off for inter-county players from 13 to 7 days (which, to my mind, would be absolute madness – especially if your panel size is only 24 to start with.  A lack of joined-up thinking there, Sean). I think he’s right, though, to propose that we have fewer of those aimless challenge matches and that the inter-county championship season needs to be compressed.  For the life of me, I cannot understand how the Connacht championship – which involves only seven teams – lasts from the start of May to the second half of July every year.

Speaking of which, that same article in the Indo provides details of next year’s Connacht championship, which starts on May 2nd and ends, all of eleven weeks later, on July 18th.  Our match against Sligo has apparently been shifted back a day to Saturday, 5th June, to facilitate live TV coverage (on RTE) and it’ll now be an evening throw-in – probably 5 pm, I guess, like the Roscommon match was earlier this year.  I’m not a fan of these Saturday evening championship games: summer football should, to my mind, occur in the middle of the afternoon on Sundays but I haven’t the time nor the inclination to rouse myself into a middle-aged rant about this now.  The Indo also reports that, should we progress to the Connacht final, all three of our provincial championship ties next year will be televised live but that’s only of interest to those of you who aren’t planning to be there to see it all for real.

6 thoughts on “Feeney’s annual sounding-off + change of date for Sligo clash

  1. Your on the ball Willie. Just saw the piece by Feeney and was about to alert you…but the early bird and all that. Anyway I am no fan of Feeney but reading his piece in the Indo I actually agree with him and sadly have to disagree with part of you. Cutting the panel to 24 might actually bring back a bit of competition. No way can any manager motivate thirty plus average fellas, however 24 has a tighter feel about it.
    I would be concerned with Feeney on one issue that he did not address. Its only last Sept that Feeney and his chums gave O Mahony the go ahead for his last year plus a bonus year thrown in. Strange, bearing in mind the comments made by Sean in todays paper. Those comments are an actual indictment on all O Mahoneys work since he took over in late 2006. Words like “lacked leadership and strenght in key areas” is damning. More so since the diamond 8 of half back , mid and half forward is the area that O Mahoney was brought in to tackle. The team that played Meath, had in those positions that eight who croaked against Kerry in 2004-2006.
    Put bluntly a county that has won five out of the last six U21 Connacht titles, an All-Ireland U21, three minor final appearences since 2005 plus a national league final in 2007 are no better off than Meath, or any other mid ranked team. Personally I believe that O Mahoney cannot swing it around and the whole situation is muddied by his involvement in politics. If Mayo won the All-Ireland under him he would be a pensioner by the time he leaves the Dail. On the other hand as Mayo struggles and if O Mahoney was to step down before the next election, that lack of success might come against him from the electorate at voting time. So its in his interests to hang on in the hope that we might get better times somewhere down the road. Just a thought(I know, too long but thats what happens when you follow Mayo) Happy Christmas and thanks for the good work.

  2. You could be right, ontheroad, but I still think 24 would be too close to the bone. A bad run of injuries and you’d soon be calling for reinforcements. I’d’ve some sympathy too with what you’re saying about the management but Johnno will still be in place for 2010 at least and I think I’ll refrain from further comment on that subject till after then. What is disappointing, though, is that he hasn’t rejigged his backroom team for the coming year, a move which he could easily have made.

    By the way, I’ve now received and have read the Sean Feeney’s report in full. There’s not too much more in it apart from what was in the Indo, except for what looks like a rather gratuitous swipe at some of the McHale Road residents and local politicians concerning the dreaded TV tower issue and a warning that the Players’ Injury Fund is heading for bankruptcy (a bit like the country as a whole).

  3. While I’d agree with ontheroad about competition to get on the panel, (some players do seem to be happy enough to plod along on the panel) but organising proper games needs 30 players- With a panel of 24 you’d be calling some lads in for games and then finding they are not quite up to the fitness and physical demands. Even at 30 players you have to call on other lads from time to time to make up numbers. One solution could be an interim panel, but then those players would be stuck in limbo. I think it’s up to the manager to keep the competitiveness in a 30 man panel by keeping a revolving door policy there. Looks like county boards will be keeping a much tighter eye on team expenses this year, whatever the panel number.

  4. I think a panel of 24 is to tight allowing for injuries. But what if at senior level you have a permanent panel of 25 or so then every month you bring in 5 or 6 new players in to the panel to encourage competition if the new players are good enough they will rise into the 25 man panel after the month and one of the other established players would drop out of the panel creating more competition in the panel as every players place on it would be under pressure from month to month making the players work harder for their place on the panel and team. At the moment it is too hard to get on to the senior panel and too hard to get off it creating no competition for places and lowering the standard of football in the county

  5. “He apparently describes that performance as a “total collapse” and says that the way we lost the game was “inexcusable”. That’s a bit over the top, I reckon.” – whatever about the 24 players and leaving Johno’s contract, I think he is totally correct about it being a total collapse – Sport isn’t fair one day decisions go for you another day they don’t and you have to deal with that it doesn’t affect the best teams out there

  6. personally happy with the late saturday throw ins as cant make the games and delighted they will all be on the telly ( should we progress..)..

    as for JOM , as i said many times before, electing him was not a good move for mayo football..

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