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.