Holiday postcard 1: Ronan

Holiday 1There I was, just getting used to the heat (it’s kinda hot here), the food (this is Italy: need I elaborate further?) and the drinks (which have been going down pretty smoothly) and not even Limerick’s brave failure to land the Munster football title nor the Kerrymen’s poxy draw against Longford could upset the sense of something approaching serenity that was settling over me yesterday afternoon.  But that was before the texts began to arrive about what had happened to Ronan.

By the sounds of it, he’s played all the football for Mayo in 2009 that he’s going to play.  He certainly won’t be ready for the Connacht final, it’s doubtful he’ll be ready for what could be a helter-skelter series of games just after and, even if we make it all the way to the final, it’s likely he’d be struggling to be fit by then as well.  No: we need to accept that it’ll be the 2010 NFL before Ronan takes the field for Mayo again and, after his stand-out performance the last day against Roscommon, this is truly a crying shame.

It would be easy, in the circumstances, to rail against playing club championship matches in the middle of the inter-county championship season but I don’t think that any such rant would be justified.  The club championship has to be played some time and having the players involved in this kind of action is arguably as beneficial as playing endless inter-county challenge matches.  Sure, injuries can occur but, then again, Trevor Howley got clocked in a meaningless kick-around with Meath last year so the club championship can’t really be blamed for the act of thuggery perpetrated yesterday on Ronan.

There’s little point in saying much about the incident itself (there’s plenty of reasoned discussion about it on gaaboard.com), except perhaps to dwell on two things.  The first is that I sincerely hope the County Board deal swiftly and effectively with the individual who did this: apparently the match was videoed and so the evidence could be there.  If it is and the Board don’t act rapidly to ensure that the perpetrator’s season is ended, in the same way that his cowardly fist ended Ronan’s, then it would be a major dereliction of duty on their part.  The second is that, from what I gather, John Maughan appears to have gone a bit overboard in the defence of his man: perhaps it mightn’t be too big of him to admit this before the week is out.

From the perspective of the county team, though, we simply have to move on and see what kind of alternative plans we can come up with for Sunday week.  Ronan will be a huge loss, for sure, as there were high hopes that he would command the skies at Salthill on Sunday week in the way that he did to such telling effect at McHale Park in the 2006 decider.  In his absence, we got cleaned out at midfield (by Joe bloody Bergin too) in that awful 2007 Salthill encounter, where, in the first twenty minutes of that game, we didn’t win a single ball at midfield and failed to get it into the forward line at all.

With Ronan gone, we need a ball winner in midfield and, for my money, that man has to be Pat Harte.  A Heaney-Harte midfield is probably our best option now and I reckon it would make more sense to hand Ronan’s jersey to a seasoned campaigner like Harte (who, as well as being a Stephenite,  has a thing to prove to the patrons of Pearse Stadium, given what happened to him there in ’07) than it would to give it to an out-of-sorts Tom Parsons.  That leaves a hole in the half-forwards but the man to fill it is surely BJP.

We can still win this Connacht title without Ronan.  Sure, we’d win it a hell of a lot easier if we had him in the team but we don’t and we have to plan accordingly. It’s a huge setback, make no mistake, and the fact that, from a county perspective, it’s self-inflicted makes it more difficult to accept.  But accept it we must and recognise that this is what we’ve got a big panel of players for.  So, chins up, hombres, we can still win on the 19th. In fact, we owe it to Ronan to do so.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, a rather large beer is called for.  Caio!

13 thoughts on “Holiday postcard 1: Ronan

  1. Yeah, the Heaney-Harte combination would do the trick as Billy Joe covers a lot of ground. I was concerned that we spilled a lot of ball at centrefield at centrefield in the second half the last day. I know that the game was won at that stage and it was hard to keep the concentration up. But if the Galway lads were to mop up a good bit of loose ball at centrefield and run at us, our half backs would be under pressure. Billy Joe might be just the man to do the hoovering up job to prevent that happening.

    And as it’s Galway, I cannot see C Mort warming his backside on the bench for as long as he was against Ross. He will surely enter the fray much earlier. When you think about it, we have a fairly impressive bench at the moment. And the attitude is coming right too.

    Can we hope to dream?

    Keep the Faith!

  2. Hi Wj
    According to the Mayo News Ronan has Hairline fracture of his cheekbone, it will take 4-6 weeks to heal so at best he may be back for the Q/F if we get there.
    P Harte-Heney is probably the best option, with Parsons coming in at some stage, Thought parsong did reasonably well against Ross (Thats not saying Much as Ross were brutal), But he looked hungry none the less.
    On a more Positive note Barry Moran is doing well and should be fit for the final.

    On a different topic Kevin McStay wrote an interesting article in the Hoganstand, on the need to restructure the championship, anyone have any thoughts on this?

  3. Ronan was our target for kickouts so it may be better to just replace him with Parsons and send our kickouts at him as he is probally our best high fielder.Too many changes can knock out the balance in the team.What a good time it would be for Tom to stand up and be counted !

  4. whatever way you look at it its a massive blow that he is ot for the final especially given galways difficulties in midfield. However, it is one area that we do have options so might get away with it. IF Mayo get through there is a 2 week break till the quarters so he might be back possibly wearing one of those protective face masks???

  5. Hartes should be left in the forwards, we need his physical presence.
    The backs are more of a worry to me. Last year we held on to the same back line after the Sligo game—what a mistake.Ross could have got 3 goals with limited posession.
    We need to man mark Joyce–Cunniffe did a great job in Tuam in the league.
    Howley has done nothing to show he is our best option at chb
    Making several switches to replace Mc Garrity would be the same mistake we made in 97.

  6. Brian O’Driscoll suffered a similar injury to Ronan, three weeks before the 2007 world cup. He played 5 weeks later. The QFs are on the August bank holiday weekend, which is probably a week too soon for Ronan, even being optimistic.

  7. Agree with jr above to avoid too many changes …. more recent example …remember back to Tyrone last year when McGarrity (as it happens) and T Mortimor were out on the injured list. JOM made wholesale changes in backs and forwards and midfield (some might have happned anyway) and if you recall Mayo were at sixes and sevens during that match and looked like they weren’t sure where they were playing – we beat ourselves and Tyrone went on …. well we know the end !

  8. Ronan will have to learn to keep his left up. next year should subscribe to BALLINA BOXING club instead of basket ball (not streetwise enough or knacker enough) Cant find stats on mayo panel I.E heights and weights you did some weeks/months ago. my thinking is that S Ose might have more height advantage than T.Parsons ,if only to brake ball. could be plan B. Connife and heaney take care of Joyce between them. are ya listenin JONO

  9. Tom Parsons and Seamus O’Shea both come in around the 6’2″ mark, according to the stats.

    Though Pat Harte did very well playing at midfield in the match at the weekend, I’d be inclined to leave him where he is in the half-forwards and do a simple swap of Parsons or O’Shea for Ronan, rather than re-jigging everything and risking upsetting the applecart.

    What happened at the weekend was terrible but please God Ronan’ll be back before long, and we’ll still be there when he is.

  10. whoever did this should proud..for the sake of what?? Apparently alot of people seen this but would not make a statement.they should be proud..ban the p***k for life [Comment slightly moderated]

  11. pick Parsons if he has recovered from the groin injury and is showing form – leave the others where they are.
    Ronaldson had a good game against them in Tuam picking up breaking ball
    Ronan would have cancelled out Bergin but anyone we pick would be more mobile than Cullinanane if he is picked
    still think that we will win by three points in any case
    i didnt see the incident but in most cases a fractured jaw is when the victim doesn’t see the punch coming and can’t ready himself so i am guessing that this brave Claremorris warrior hit him on the blind side as well – i have heard the same name a few times – will never be county standard if everyone else had a broken leg

  12. Well Mayo contributors the word on the Galway streets is not very optimistic. I think the McGarrity loss will be nullified to a degree by Harte and the fact our midfield is an ongoing problem. In fairness our defence is improving particulary the half back line and our forwards as always have bundles of talent. However unlike in hurling it is very difficult to by pass midfield in football. Against Sligo our forwards bar the 1st 20 mins were living off scraps so a major worry. On the plus side it is clear that P Joyce should be at corner forward as with decent distribution he will win 4 out of every 5 balls. He destroyed the Sligo corner back playing at right corner forward for the 1st 15 mins or so the last day. In relation to Mayo it is hard to know what to expect but by all accounts ye are on an upward curve. I am not judging just on the last day. I am factoring in the latter end of the league and the blending in of some of the underage talent coming through. Not sure whether Barry Moran is over his injury but if he is Kieran Fitz has to come in as Finian Hanley will have his hands full with Aidan O’Sé. In fairness Hanley is on to form so should be a good battle. Like a true Tribe i know what my heart says. However with Galway/Mayo and the fact it tends to go in turns really hard to call.

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