Jimmy’s winning matches

We’re all, I’m sure, still deciding in our own minds how we feel about how Sunday’s All-Ireland final went for us and so I’m delighted to welcome back into the guest slot Davitts Man to provide his perspective on events.

Jimmy’s winning matches, Jimmy’s winning games – that song is still in the heads of most Mayo and Donegal folk at the minute for totally different reasons. For the northern folk they are planning the tour Sam will take within the county for the winter; for us the nightmare continues, another All-Ireland final of three cheers for Mayo. The worst phrase we can hear uttered.

So was this a final we left behind or one we were never going to win? A bit of both. After such a bad start we were always going to struggle to come back and win but credit must go to our lads who recovered to give it their all and were there about as the game entered the home straight. I felt, however, that if pressed the Nordies would probably have too much for us and put the foot back on the accelerator if needed.

From the fans’ point of view this one is hard to take as we had our chances particularly early in the second half but for some poor shot selection we could have got back on terms, but I think the majority of us also thought it would be a bridge too far. It was a case of ifs, buts and maybes. What if Andy was fit, what if Cillian had got that free early on instead of the ball hitting the back of the net down the other end? But that’s all history now. It’s another All-Ireland final defeat and another winter without a visit from Sam will have to pass. However unlike previous defeats there is no talk of drawing boards or that dreaded phrase which gets my blood boiling: ‘Mayo, God help us’.

It was very interesting to note the defiant mood in the Regency Hotel on Sunday night when there was plenty of talk about next year and how James is building something for the future. I think most of us have to agree with that sentiment. This is a very young team and a lot of the lads have yet to hit their prime. Yes, some tweaks are needed and some new faces will be introduced before we’ll be the ones calling for three cheers for our vanquished opponents in mid-September.

One gripe I had from the weekend is I heard on numerous occasions afterwards the opinion being voiced that at least we didn’t shame ourselves. I think that’s a terrible attitude to have: by God if we were good enough to get to the final (which we were) then shaming ourselves should have been the last thing on our minds.

The dark winter nights will pass and every now and then we’ll think what could have been. However when the FBD rolls round we’ll hope that this is finally going to be our year and that come September next year that we’ll be the ones singing Jimmy’s winning matches, Jimmy’s winning games and that the Croke park stewards will be busy enacting Plan B as Sam Maguire is finally draped in the green and red.

14 thoughts on “Jimmy’s winning matches

  1. Like most I am trying to find solace somewhere in Sunday’s defeat.

    While reflecting on next year’s prospects I considered our chances before our finals since the 89 final and onwards. I.e were the favourites in 89,96,97,04,06 and Sunday.

    The answer is a resounding No!

    As a number of people have pointed out. Maybe we are destined to be one of those teams who will be there or there about, never to reach the promised land.

  2. The original song was Jimmy’s selling watches jimmy’s selling chains the lad just made a few changes to make it successful much like Mayo now.

  3. Well the removal is over so it might be safe to take a walk around. Never was I so sure of a win for us…until Saturday when I got the strangest sensation…doubt flooded my mind, taking root until five on Sunday.

    My feelings after the game are still the same…puzzled. I am puzzled how a county that has none of our history or under age conveyor belt and whom started on the same grid as us in 2011 could comfortably enough beat us.

    Since 1887 Donegal has won 7 Ulster titles. Since 1999 Armagh has won also 7 and Tyrone 6. We have now contested 7 finals (one replay) since 1989.This final was set up for us but now they have 2 from 2 and we have 3 from 14. They return an All Ireland every 3.5 provincial titles , we return an All Ireland every 15 and a bit.

    Much has been made of the changes that was made to this years Mayo team from the semi final last year. I think someone on the site suggested this as proof of progress. maybe…maybe not. Hennelly, Cunniffe, Feeney, Trevor, SOS, Freeman and Andy Moran were the men to lose out this year. I still regard them as fairly useful.

    Donegal on the other hand made 2 changes from the Dublin semi final a year ago. Out went All Star Cassidy in a show of managerial strength and Hegarty retired. Two changes for them suggests that McGuinness had his plan in place and his preferred team in place from the off. Interesting I think his methods.

    Donegal have won 3 national titles. two have been against us plus the third was a semi final v us in 1992. We are ,indeed have long been seen as a team to be stepped over on the road to silver. What galls me is this. A team like Donegal who conceded 1-27 to Cork in the 2009 quarter finals with many of the present team went out and corrected the fundamentals and basics.

    We , we who have a very big pick, a conveyor belt from the 2004/06/07/08/09 U21s, the minors of 2008/09 seem to be permanently a work in progress sucking an effing blanket called next year. McGuinness has what Loughnane had, a charisma and an almost demonic urge to win the big one. He demands total surrender from his men and gets it. In return for this total belief they foster a strong and winning team.

    I read that 2-7 of their scores came from turnovers from us. Christ almighty if true. The final of 1996 saw us blast from the blocks. Its the only way we can do it. After 10 mins on Sunday we were blasted from the blocks by them…why? I know Donegal and its people well…they are not supermen, I regard or did at least regard us as superior to them in every facet of the game.

    Darrgh O Sé called it as it was, so did Liam Horan in his report, that was the match I saw and it was the match that John O Keeffe saw in the Irish Times. Someone said to me….this wasn’t like 2004/06. Are we for real here…this is Donegal we are talking about not Kerry. Christ if they scored the other three goal chances they created I think we would be in terminal shock forever.

    We clap ourselves because we didn’t give up. It was the least I expected and fool that I am I expected the same in 2004 and 2006. Much has been written by our dismal final record. Successive managers and players tell us that the past has nothing to do with the present team…well it has now. They sadly have now joined the long list and honestly i wish I knew why. We have the players, we have the history but we have a huge psychological bear on our back plus a stubborn resistance for ignoring any relevant lesson from the past.

    Its as if we want to do everything the hard way. I have nothing but respect fro the effort and bravery shown by in particular Mick Conroy , Kevin McLoughlin and young O Connor the last day. Likewise Keane who was let down by failure back the field, Keegan and O BOyle were rocks. But and its this that wins All Irelands…we had no Dooher, no Dara, no Galvin, no McMenamon no Kennelly , no Canavan to calm and cajole, bully and lead.

    James Horan has done a great job. We were in a bad place in 2010 and he rectified that. Now its the season ahead that will define him as a great or a good manager who did his best within a county fatally flawed by the fickle finger of effing fate. Number 6, 8 or 9, 11 and 14 are positions that need bedding and fast. A target man who can turn, be seen and score at 14 is a must. Feeneys form demands a place…but where? what to do with Higgins, will we consign him like Heaney was for years, held back when his instincts are needed up the pitch a bit.

    We are close but we have been close before. Funny enough, people actually feel a bit sorry for us now, an almost resigned acceptance that we live in Limbo, denied heaven but spared hell. I hate that. Lets release that damned thing that chokes our veins and arteries from within, banish that, fling away the fear and develop an instinct that at the first sight of blood , tears all asunder. All we have to do is look at what Donegal did…if they can do it, why not us.

  4. “Since 1887 Donegal has won 7 Ulster titles.”

    Their first Ulster title wasn’t won until 1972. Ye could be like Cavan who won provincial championships for fun back in the day (like Mayo) and added a few All-Irelands (like Mayo) but have only won one provincial title since Donegal’s first (unlike Mayo).

  5. john cuffe if it helps and puts the mind at rest Donegal also beat Tyrone,Kerry,Cork along the way and those three have all done better at underage level aswell.

  6. All during the game, the wife was saying that the Mayo freetaker has a dirty pair of togs on. She has an eye for that sort of thing. I thought she was seeing things. But the picture above clearly shows Varley with a dirty ould grey pair of Mayo togs… Did he forget to bring his new togs or are they a lucky pair? The wife would love to find out…

  7. Mayomagic….no it doesnt help at all, it makes it worse actually. Cork 2010, Kerry 2009 and Tyrone 2008 champions. We not. Same old story…unable to seal the deal and simple lessons from 2004 and 2006 discarded but us but remembered by Donegal. Utterly depressing actually but I suppose I will have to pretend like many others that a mighty team beat us!

  8. Excellent contribution above John Cuffe.
    The fact that other counties have now actually stopped ribbing us says a lot .. this whole failure thing has now taken on a life of its own … it is no longer cool to kick someone who is permanently down.
    I saw a lack of intensity in our early minutes last Sunday as though we did not realise what was facing us and the physicality that was going to be required. I saw people skipping around our midfield and half forwards far too easily delivering pinpoint ball into our FB line. If it weren’t for the performance of both of our wing backs it would have been even worse.
    I would disagree with those who expressed the view that Keane on Murphy was the wrong match-up. What we needed was an extra defender especially in the early stages instead of 3 people in our Full Forward line. Donegal had 2 killer forwards in their FF line. Remember Murphy nearly scored another goal in the second half when marked by somebody else. We needed to get through the first 15 min without shipping water. Keith Higgins was then left minding the house although the same house had been robbed at the start.
    In Mayo we are naive. We have a lot of footballers who fit in to the ‘decent footballer category’ … honest hardworking decent players who will win you an FBD, a few league matches, perhaps even a Connacht Championship … we are continually being fooled by these type of players leaving us with over expectation and under delivery … these are not All Ireland winners … there is a world of a difference … we need to be ruthless with this type of player and stop fooling ourselves.
    In the early stages of JH reign we had massive changes in the team from one game to another. For the 2013 season we need to re-visit that strategy. We thought we had reached a settled team this year but we haven’t. Subs who are not getting meaningful game time will not keep putting in the effort and will walk as we saw in a couple of cases this summer. We need to keep things continually fresh with all panel members getting decent game time … nothing set in stone.
    Finally we need changes at 6,11,13 & 14 at a minimum and we need tweaks elsewhere as well. Despite all the accolades handed out to our midfield I for one am not convinced that SOS & Jason Gibbons would not represent a better pairing. We also need to think outside the box a little and find different spots for the likes of Keith Higgins and Richie Feeney. Younger players need to be found & given game time in early 2013 this time in the hope that they might become All Ireland players & not FBD winners. Finally our use of subs needs to be pre-determined and occur earlier.
    I hope I am not too negative but I do think these changes are necessary in order to break the cycle.

  9. highking…..Regarding your wife’s observation that Enda Varley was wearing a dirty ould grey pair of Mayo togs…..perhaps this may have something to do with reading the groundbreaking book….’Fifty Shades of Grey’, don’t cha know.

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