In the interest of the province

I’m very happy to welcome back onto the guest slot soapbox FourGoal McGee who provides an alternative view on who we should be shouting for at this weekend’s U21 All-Ireland final.

There was a bit of a spat going on over on GAA Board the other day between a few Mayo and Galway supporters. It was started by a Mayo supporter ribbing the Galway people because their manager had called for Galway people to support their U21s in the All Ireland Final on Sunday next. Unfortunately, those involved appeared to be only interested in having  a somewhat pointless slagging match rather than examining the importance of the upcoming match. And indeed it is an interesting one.

Cavan – once a powerhouse of Gaelic football – haven’t appeared in a final (at underage or senior) for as long as I can remember whereas Galway are often there or thereabouts at various grades. Cavan beat an unfancied Wexford team to get there, whereas Galway beat a Cork team that had shot Kerry’s lights out a few weeks ago. But predicting results in underage football is never straightforward. The bookies have Galway at 8/13 to win but Cavan have had solid wins against Fermanagh, Donegal and Tyrone.  But why, I hear you ask, should a Mayoman be interested in this match?

The answer is simple. We always measure ourselves against our greatest rivals and no county better meets that description for a Mayo than Galway. So we look in interest (and with a little bit of envy) at them when they go further in any competition than us. And I’m sure that they have the same feelings about us. But there is another reason and it has been expressed by others on this forum in the past. It is in our interest that Connaught football is strong so that we can measure our true chances of success beyond the province. When this strength is there, any team coming out of Connaught is a force to be taken seriously. Which is why I would have liked to see Galway survive Division 1 and to see Sligo consolidate a place in Division 2, rather than see both of them demoted. Granted, Roscommon got promoted, and any such achievement – even from the lowest division – is good for the province.

However, the true strength of football in the province is not evident in our respective senior teams. Connaught has been peppered with good minor teams in the last five years but this has not led to All Ireland success at U21 (our win in 2006 was not a product of these teams). However, the work that James Horan has done in unearthing young players has shown us that new young blood is available in our county. Fergal O’Donnell is beginning to bring them to the fore in Roscommon.  What the footballing powers in Galway must accept is that such young blood is available to them too.

On Sunday, we will see if Galway can bring these young players through to the next level. If they do, it will continue to make Connaught more competitive and raise the bar for James Horan’s young charges as they look to the potential for future glory. And for that reason, despite holding lifelong Mayo citizenship, I will be hoping for a Galway victory.

Keep the Faith!

18 thoughts on “In the interest of the province

  1. Good articles from you all, thanks.

    The Mayo/Galway rivalry is a tough one alright. A lot of it could depend on whether you live near the border or not and the type of Glawayman/woman you know!
    You could know a real arse from Glaway, somone who winds you up and is a particularly bad winner/loser. That could be the deciding factor to whether you cheer for them or not.
    I remember I was all for Galway in the ’98 final, but the shite I had to listen to after that win put me off them for life! The final against Kerry was a nightmare though, I was just hoping the game would be called off and Sam hidden away for that year. Couldn’t stand to see either of them winning it.

    I don’t think there’s any doubt though that ’98 changed some people’s perceptions. Before that as a young lad, I was always told to ‘support your province’.
    Actually, that didn’t seem to apply to Roscommon though. My old fella kept repeating this story about how certain houses in Roscommon were told to take down any Mayo flags that happened to be flying as we reached the 89 final. Now whether this is true or not is debatable, particularly as it was disgruntled neighbours and the local council who apparently demanded the flags came down!

  2. I have never supported Galway, except in Hurling. Would Cork support Kerry, Meath support Dublin, Tipperary back Clare? The support the province lark is more proof that we are “too nice” as a county.

    Up Cavan on Sunday!!

  3. I hate Galway.I love to see them beat at every oppertunity.I think I have this mindset for a number of reasons.
    Firstly I remember the three in a row.These were my formative years and it seemed we could never beat them.
    Then I spent a good piece of the seventies,when we never even won a Connacht,in Jarlaths listening to their shite.
    Then there was 98.The speaches were hardly over when when every border town in Mayo was swarmed with Galway cunts rubbing it in.
    I hate them so much that I often wonder how the gem that Galway city is ever evolved where it is given that the rest of the place is such a shit hole!
    Fuck the PC up Cavan.

  4. I think ye’re missing the point lads. Playing in a weak Connaught is a bit like playing in Division 3 in the league. And if we consistently play at that level we will win Connaught titles but fail in Croke Park.

    Does this ring any bells?

    I love to see Mayo beating Galway, and I particularly like the prospect of beating them when we would both take to the field with a realistic chance of going on to win an All-Ireland. But at the moment, I think both counties are a good bit away from that. A win for Galway on Sunday would raise expectations in Galway and that would sweeten the prospect of a Mayo win in Castlebar in June. That’s not PC. It’s just Mayo self-interest.

    Keep the Faith!

  5. It seems like I’ve ruffled a few feathers. Must be doing something right so. Even my calling card is being used in the debate.

    I seem to have hit a bit of a raw nerve.

    In the interest of the Faith, I think I’ll leave ye to it and spend Sunday climbing the Reek!

  6. You’ve certainly provoked a good healthy debate there, FourGoal – nothing wrong with that! Enjoy the Reek, looks like you’ll have a nice weekend for it.

  7. I note that a few comments relate to Mayo boys who spent their academic years in Jarlath’s. You or your parents should have sent ye to a Mayo college. Was Muredach’s not good enough for the offspring? Dont tell me it was too far away, once in a boarding school it might as well be in outer Mongolia.

    Jarlaths was made up of Mayo’s finest. Nobody forced them there.I remember the Galway 3 in a row. In my part of Mayo it was an irrelevancy, they had the mojo we didn’t…simple as.

    However the flat earth thinkers from south Mayo seem to have an obsession with Galway. One idiot suggested that beating them was the benchmark for our football year! That shows an inferiority complex on our part. Certainly beating Mayo is not the benchmark for Galway football.

    I actually thought that Silke the Galway captain in 1998 gave a generous speech in which he referenced us. Time we stood on our own patch and not worry what Galway, Sligo or any other Connacht county think of us. Either we have the needful or we dont.

    If Cavan beat Galway in the U21 then we will see the true state of our young manhood. We failed for the second year running to Roscommon. Now that would worry me more than bad dreams and nightmares from my days in Jarlaths or my proximity to the Galway border.

  8. I really don’t see the result of tomorrows match between the two “outsiders” from the early stages of the contest as being as seismic as is being suggested here. Galway may win another U21 but it is a far fetched argument to forsee the rising tide of a Galway win tomorrow developing into a connaught sunami which will swamp the country. Not being of the I hate all things maroon and white camp I nevertheless hope Cavan win Simply because their day in the sun will be enjoyed more intensely by more Cavan Boys than a Galway equilevent

  9. nevr forget the slaggin from 99 before throwin in Tuam, the shite of them sayin takes a galway team to win sam. Well we showed them that day

  10. Mixed reaction to us in the Tribe from what i can see but i would not expect any different. However using words hate etc in a sport context reflects poorly on people who suggest same. I would suggest those of ye who suggest this should grow up. I agree with the FourGoal McGee’s sentiment in this debate and feel a healthy province in football should benefit all its protagoists. Therefore if Mayo or the Rossies are doing well it should raise the bar for the rest of us in Connacht and vice versa. Albany makes a fair point about the U21 tomorrow and i also understand the reason for this. It is not anti Galway but supportuing the underdog. The only thing that galls me is when others call us a hurling county. After all we have more senior all irelands in football than hurling and senior success is the ultimate benchmark. We essentially are two counties in one as largely speaking hurling areas never support the footballers more so than the reverse. In fact hurling people see the games itself as a special preserve and football a poor relation. I could never undersatnd that one as as far as i am concerned if you are into GAA you would expect to follow both codes.

  11. Don’t recall us winning Sam in 1999 or in Tuam either. Lets keep this “hate” and “shite” and other such purgative language where it belong’s.

    I am actually dismayed that a win over Galway in 1999 is equated with their achievement a year earlier. Nor am I understating our own record in 1996 particularly, and 1997. But the 1999 win in Tuam mattered only if we won Sam in 1999. We didn’t, a poor loss to Cork and our nemisis Meath did what they had to in beating Cork after.

    I am actually surprised at the negative and indeed sheer lack of confidence we have in regards Galway. Really it doesn’t take a lot to spook us and teams know that. Costello and Sligo got amid us last year and we buckled. Time we stood back and see that in Connacht terms we are in a different league at minor and U21 to all counties and trail Galway by the slimmest at senior.

    In 2009 we won more in Connacht than Sligo have in almost 128 years and here we are calling our neighbours and nearest rivals names. Lets focus on Mayo and never mind the rest.

  12. Well said, ontheroad and also KC re the tone of debate – there’s no call in insulting the neighbours in such fashion. It’s only April for God’s sake!

    I’ll probably be at Croker tomorrow and if I am, I think I’ll be in the Cavan camp. I saw them beating Wexford in the semi a few weeks back and they had a big crowd with them that night so I’d say there’ll be a monster turnout from up there tomorrow. They’re great football people too and would savour a win tomorrow – a first All-Ireland win for them since the Fifties if they do it – in a way we could identify well with. I’ve nothing against Galway per se but, as KC says, Cavan will attract support as the underdogs which is why I’d like to see them do it too.

  13. I was talking to a well known public representive at a wedding a couple of years ago just before a Mayo match and I asked him was he going to it.He replied no I`m going into a room…with a telly…on my own…in case anyone would see me as I loose reason!I didn`t tell him he should grow up I could see that he was the same as most people you`d see at matches.
    Football is one of the most popular forms of escapism for the male of the species in most parts of the world.It`s very tribal and I go so far as to say that it has replaced war for us at a certain level.We need to hate the opposition and to beat them to create unity among our people.We all need to have heros that we idolise and our enemies that we put down at every oppertunity to basicly have the crack.
    When I say I hate Galway (and you can add the Dubs and Cork to that lot) I mean I don`t like the aura they have when they are winning the arrogance they portray.When guys say we should grow up and get over beating Galway well it`s about the only satisfaction I get out of following Mayo all my life and that includes beating them in the league final in 2001.
    I`ll be looking foreward to playing them again in June and hoping they don`t find a couple of midfielders that can supply Joyce Meehan and co with quality ball because if we defend the way we did for most of the league, they`ll destroy us.
    And lads lighten up it`s only football its not personal!

  14. cork hate ky ,ky hate them back ,dub /meath,arma/tyr,i could name every 2 neighbouring counties in the world of team sport .i think every supporter needs a team to hate more than any other ,man u/liverpool ,.we dont hate each other ,some of us even have been known to marry wemon/men who wear that horrid maroon gersey,guys hate on -its more fun for all when we do. i remember drinking in coadys after a match with them in mchale pk a couple of years ago,met a group of gal lads great laugh had ,slagging each other .but we still hate them . i would love it if todays game is a classic one with a cavan win of course

  15. Can anyone direct to a match report on the Mayo Juniors V Leitrim. I cant find anything anywhere. If anyone was at the match how did the Islandeady lads get on at Full back and midfield.

  16. The hate thing can cut both ways. It means when you finally break the chains things are extra sweet.

    A friend of mine saw his father cry for the first time ever when when Tipp ended their Munster famine in 1987. His father turned to him with the tears streaming and said “son, the hay is saved and Cork are bet.” He’d waited his son’s whole life to utter that most traditional Tipperary prayer.

    I saw the cars streaming in the NCR from Cavan yesterday and I thought of them telling each other about the gallant John Joe and the Polo Grounds and all their other deeds of glory. God love them.

    I take FourGoal’s point in general terms about provincial strength but I’m not sure if the stats bear it up. Munster isn’t strong generally – Cork are enjoying a golden era but historically that hasn’t been the case. Kerry beat them 66% of the team – or did when it still the mattered (how I hate that back door).

    Ulster is famously … ah … competitive but whether that helps or hinders them come August I don’t know. I think the most thing we need to do is paddle our own canoes and not worry about Galway. They know they’re in our heads anyway. We need to root them out. Hard enough win on the field without having to call for an exorcism after ten o’clock Mass as well.

  17. My old lad often told me we were too hung up about Galway and that beating Galway was almost like winning an All-Ireland for too many Mayo footballers. Whereas Galway viewed beating Mayo as a means to an end. They enjoyed doing it but ultimately it was only a stepping stone on the way to an All-Ireland. Maybe he was off his head but it still often seems that way.

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