Johnno’s book is worth a look

John OMahony book

Photo: Sportsfile

John O’Mahony has always brought out contradictory emotions in me. So I have to admit that it was with some trepidation that I recently sat down to read his autobiography O’Mahony: Keeping the Faith.

It’s not difficult to pinpoint why conflicting sentiments might be held by Mayo GAA supporters in relation to Johnno. On the plus side, there was his excellent and far too short first tenure as manager of the senior county team a quarter of a century back; on the negative his disastrous and, in retrospect, far too long second sojourn back in the hot seat less than a decade ago.

Recent memories tend to get recalled more readily than those from further back, which, I guess, is at least partly why O’Mahony’s reputation as a manager wouldn’t be all that high among many Mayo fans. That would certainly be true in my own case – I’ve rarely spared the lash here on the site where he’s been concerned, especially since Longford, the final act of his spell as Mayo manager.

In my own case, it’s also a curious fact that I saw little or nothing at close quarters of his first stint in the job. I emigrated before the first championship campaign under his watch – 1988 – got underway and the only competitive match the county played during his first tenure that I got to was the 1989 All-Ireland final.

Despite this, I didn’t need any tutoring back then on Johnno’s talents as a manager. One of my favourite Mayo teams of all time, the All-Ireland U21 winning side of 1983, was a team managed by him, at which time he was then only thirty years of age himself.

That team – containing within its ranks players like Irwin, Forde, Maughan, Finn, Maher, Brogan, Geraghty, Durcan and McStay – was laden down with talent. Johnno was their conductor, the man who ultimately led them to a memorable All-Ireland triumph in a replayed final up in Irvinestown on a dank day in late October that year.

The 1983 U21 All-Ireland triumph, the first ever All-Ireland to be won in the Six Counties, was enough to convince many Mayo supporters, myself included, that this was the man to take charge of the senior team. I was delighted when he did so four years later and my leavetaking of home early the following year was made tougher by the knowledge that I would surely be missing better footballing days for the county than any I’d seen up till then.

I was happy enough too when he was reinstalled in the post in much changed circumstances in late 2006, notwithstanding the furore surrounding that appointment, preceded as it was by the shameful way that Mickey Moran and John Morrison were shafted. This site began in early 2007 so I don’t need to say much about how my opinion of his second term gradually unfolded: it’s all there in the blog archives and in the main it doesn’t make for pretty reading.

Probably because of this scar tissue I was fully expecting to dislike Johnno’s autobiography from start to finish. At the same time, though, I was curious to read about the earlier stuff, including his spell in charge of Leitrim during which time I was still living outside the country. I also wanted to learn in more detail about his spectacularly successful stint at the helm in Galway.

I’ll happily admit I ended up quite liking the book. It’s ghostwritten by Irish Sun sports journalist John Harrington in a no-nonsense, straightforward way, with no fancy narrative tricks. The story starts in Kilmovee in 1953 and ends with Johnno contemplating the challenge facing him as the 2016 General Election looms ever closer. In that sense, it’s obviously a tale that starts at the beginning and finishes at the end. In between, the story – which, thankfully, concentrates almost exclusively on Johnno’s life in Gaelic football with not all that much said about his political existence – moves on at a decent clip.

His time as a player, emerging from the St Nathy’s nursery before breaking into the county senior team before then being discarded at a ridiculously young age following the 1975 Connacht final defeat to Sligo, reads like a life story from a completely different age. But then so too is much, if not all, of what he has to say about his time in management.

This isn’t just because of the issue with the County Board that caused him to step down from the Mayo job in 1991. It’s also about how different to modern inter-county management norms that things were as Johnno describes it not just in Mayo and Leitrim in the Eighties and Nineties but also in Galway between 1998 and 2004.

The same can also be said in his brief discussion on his second period back in charge of Mayo. To be honest, though, I think this may simply be evidence of how someone who at the outset of his managerial career could lay justifiable claim – as he does in the book – to have been an innovator had by then become a man who was now quite simply behind the times.

But when he was good at the management lark, it’s undoubtedly the case that he was very good. The template he says was used first in Mayo, then in Leitrim and finally in Galway – of getting everyone on board, pushing an agenda of excellence and preparing in detail for the challenges that lay ahead – is described well.

O’Mahony doesn’t try to hog all the limelight by taking credit for everything good that happened in his time in charge in the three counties. At the same time, though, he’s careful enough to give himself a decent share of the plaudits being handed round.

I’ve heard it said more than once that it was just Johnno’s good fortune that he happened to take a Leitrim team that was already heading in the right direction and luckier still to inherit the most talented Galway squad in decades. I don’t buy that – as the writer Stephen King once said, talent is nothing without hard work and it seems clear in retrospect that the effort O’Mahony expended in leading the line for both Leitrim and Galway pushed them to heights they most likely would simply not have otherwise reached. In Galway’s case this was to two Sam Maguire successes, which has to rank as an enormous managerial achievement.

Which makes his abject failure back in Mayo all the harder to fathom. However, what Johnno has (or perhaps hasn’t) to say about his so-called Second Coming provides enough clues in this respect.

Although he curtly dismisses the charge that he may have been more focused on politics as “bullshit”, it’s a denial that rings a tad hollow. Who, after all, can forget the canvassing outside Salthill in May 2007 and the car festooned with ‘A Vote for Johnno is a Vote for Mayo?” Or the way his public pronouncements as manager morphed so profoundly into politico-speak after he’d made it to Leinster House in 2007? What’s starkly obvious is that the single-minded determination that he brought to the position of manager first time around in Mayo and then in Leitrim and Galway doesn’t seem to have been there in Mayo second time around.

If it was, he has precious little to say about this. Indeed, he hasn’t much to say about this period at all – his first tenure with us takes up 33 pages of the book, Leitrim accounts for 44 and Galway for 79, while his second Mayo stint accounts for only 22 pages. Much of what he says appears to be aimed at deflecting some (though in fairness not all) of the blame for what happened during his disastrous second tenure.

The County Board gets some of this flak, so does poor refereeing but I think the bit that will annoy most people – it certainly got my hackles up – was his take on the fallout with Ciaran McDonald, which became a major issue in 2008. For a man who was never shy at giving quotes to the media right throughout his time in charge it’s a bit rich to blame the one and only interview Ciaran gave during this time as the determining factor in why the split became one that couldn’t be righted.

Aside from grating incidents like that and also ignoring the hagiographic blurb on the book’s back cover, there isn’t a whole load else to get worked up about in the book. The pedant in me has, though, to point out the grammatical tic that keeps recurring from start to finish that sees sentences either containing an indirect question or no question at all ending with a question mark. This annoying error should have been caught somewhere along the production line. Maybe it’s a GAA thing – I recall Mort’s book last year had exactly the same grammatical failing.

Overall, though, I think the book is a worthwhile read for fans of Mayo GAA. While it’s not a work of literature (I’ve just started Jim McGuinness’s biography, which is written by Keith Duggan, and already I can see that that one is a good bit further along that particular spectrum), it’s an interesting account of an eventful period in Gaelic football, told by one of the game’s major protagonists of that era. Having read it myself, I can’t help but think that I’m perhaps unlikely to be so quick in future to put the boot in about his underwhelming second period as Mayo manager, not least in light of the very significant managerial achievements on his CV – sadly, ones mainly secured for other counties – that came before then.

O’Mahony: Keeping the Faith by John O’Mahony with John Harrington is published by Hero Books and retails for €17.99.

62 thoughts on “Johnno’s book is worth a look

  1. Thanks for the review WJ. Normally I hoover up GAA autobiographies but for some reason I just haven’t felt the same enthusiasm about this, even though it’s a Mayo one as I would normally – mostly I guess for similar reasons as yourself, the very sour taste left after 2010. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt as low as a GAA supporter as I did after Longford (though I suppose there have been one or two September days to rival it). I might, however, add it to the list after all, especially if the political content is minimal (though clearly the political timing is deliberate).

    Will be interested to read the Ciaran McDonald part – I only caught the tail end of a radio interview last week in which it was mentioned – but nothing will ever convince me that Johnno couldn’t have done better in handling that situation; it was a crimimal waste of talent in an era in which we really could have done with some inspiration and is one of those avoidable and all-too-frequent regrets that are intervowen in the fabric of Mayo GAA history.

    As for Jim McGuinness’ – well, with Keith Duggan, you’re always going to be in safe hands. My favourite GAA writer by a mile – he is just superb. I don’t really buy into the adulation of Jim McGuinness that seems to abound, and I feel there is an element of hypocrisy in the timing of this “tell-all” release, but there is no doubthing that he is one fascinating character and that this will be well worth a read.

  2. Front cover of that book looks like a classic election poster that you would see nailed to a telegraph pole somewhere. A big picture of the man with his name just below it in big writing. Just 4 months before an election too. It screams “vote for me” when i look at it.

  3. Its a long time since I gave any support to the cronyism that passes for politics in this country. Too much Tutsi and Hutou format that allows single party government to reign for almost a century. JOM was my hero on the other hand. Another one that succeeded inspite of and not because of. I suppose that was part of the attraction for me. Something happened in 2006 which caused a major shift in my position towards my former hero. On reading your brilliant piece WJ I still have to acknowledge the huge contribution this guy made to our fortunes. I won’t be buying the book, but I was there in 83, 87 – 91 with leitrim and Galway. For all that I will still be grateful.

  4. O Mahony had four full years as Mayo manager first time round. As he had second time round. Eight years that kept his profile high. I disagree with WJ re Leitrim. A guy called Carroll from Cavan had done the spadework for him plus Leitrim had a core group of excellent talent led by Darcy. In 1995 when a Connacht title was theirs for the taking O Mahony was unable to lift them as they kicked it away in Carrick SF v an average Galway outfit.

    His second coming in Mayo , for me at least, was cringe laden. Daft statements, failure to rebuild the 2006 team and indulged two years too long. When I buy a book I like to read what the person themselves write not a ghost writer. The cynic in me sees it as a major reminder to the people of Galway what Johnno will bring them when they cast a vote. By the way, if he wants to leave a mark in the county, the road from Castlebar to Belmullet is shite. As Roy Keane said to Quinn, put that in your book.

  5. I read John O’Mahony’s book a couple of weeks ago and have to say it was a good read and for the most part an honest appraisal of his managerial career.
    He does also include a few digs at the County Board in Mayo while praising Leitrim and Galway County Boards, who he said all pulled in the same direction at all times during his tenures in those counties!!
    I agree he was totally compromised in his second coming and could not have given total commitment whilst juggling a political career and the fallout with Ciaran Mac will go down as one of the great regrets again of Mayo football. I was in Derry to see him come on as a sub in his last game, when the game was effectively over and it was a saddening sight to see one of our greatest treated like that.

  6. The book’s main purpose is to remind the footballing North Galway people of his notable achievements before his canvassing begins.
    I’m not inclined to read it, it’s got too many bad endings from a Mayo perspective and let’s be honest galway’s win in 98 rubbed salt in the wounds of 96 & 97!

  7. I hope johnno didn’t get too many copies of it printed, could be a slow seller if the above comments are any indication. I won’t be rushing out neither, that last spell ended with me cheerring for a Longford win over Mayo and happy when it happened. Not good.

  8. Would be of the same mind as you there, WJ – re contradictory emotions about Johnno. Had great time for him during his first period in charge but felt he was using the job to further his political ambitions second time round. Timing wise it is no coincidence that he is bringing out this publication now – – – nor is it a coincidence that he is devoting the biggest section of it to his time in charge of the Maroon and White. The GAA fraternity in Galway have rightly good memories of his successful tenure there – so they are getting a timely reminder now which way to cast their vote.Can’t put my finger just now on any major achievement of his here in Mayo during his five years in office. Have no doubt though but that he will stroll home in Galway especially since his colleague Brian Walsh has stepped off the pitch. Going to give my No 1 to McGuinness this time!

  9. Read the book last week, ok read with nothing awfully ground breaking or surprising. As mentioned, he seemed to see himself as a bit of an innovator and speaks highly of Malachy O’Rourke from his college days and his approach to the game.
    One thing that cannot be debate (depending on your attitude towards him) is his record in terms of delivering titles with Galway, Mayo & Leitrim in connaught, galway in croker and the u21 success with Mayo & galway.
    Generally i prefer these type of books to criss cross through out periods as opposed to a straight time frame, would have been good to talk about an all ireland win in the same chapter as a loss and see the contrasting emotions and feelings.
    He’s still only one of two men to with an all ireland outside of their native county so hopefully Mr McGee has something in the pipline for the 35th anniversary 😉

  10. I didn’t get a chance to get Johnno’s book yet but it”s on the agenda.
    But I cannot avoid suggesting that, whether Mickey Moran was badly treated by Mayo post 2006 or not, it was no worse that what he did to his former Derry manager, Eamon Coleman, in 1994. Further his appointment by Mayo was another shambles by Mayo Co Board, done in a rush when they realised that O’Mahony was taking a break from management. Moran had at that stage managed several teams, including Derry’s 1993 winning team, and achieved nothing with any of them. He went on to manage some more with the same results.
    Re John Cuffe’s comment that PJ Carroll had paved the way for O’Mahony in Leitrim, I have some knowledge of Carroll’s managerial career. He was a good man to get a team fit but not good at getting the best from a team footballwise. Like Moran he achieved little as a manager.

  11. Re 2007, a memory from Salthill comes back to me. Coming away after the match a certain Mayo Co Councillor with a smile as wide as Galway Bay said “Well, that’s O’Mahony f***ked, anyway”. I don’t think that he was talking about football. So I don’t think there was much to be gained politically from taking the Mayo management job at that time

  12. I know a good few Galway people who reckon he actually underachieved with that particular team. They reckon there were more all Irelands in them! I don’t know.
    JOM is a careful cautious guy and is unlikely to say much that will excite the reader or do damage to his own image. He is a politician and this book is probably designed to promote his political career. I am unlikely to read it.

  13. I actually was coached by John O’Mahoney with video analysis and on pitch work. Twas some county board initiative to train up youngsters in skills of the game. I remember he had a good kick off the ground himself. Seemed textbook to us youngsters anyways. Twas in Kiltimagh around 1990 as I remember with video session in Cil Aodhan or Raftery Rooms or somewhere.
    Dermot Earley seniors is the best GAA Auto Biography I have read. There is too much built up around games, incidents and performances in too many of these GAA auto biographies. Ego bursting off the page of a lot of them. They become formulaic.
    – Childhood kicking ball.
    – County minors
    – County seniors
    – First All Ireland.
    – Winning All Ireland.
    – Fall out with Manager.
    – Move into Management.
    – Big incident as Manager.
    – First All Ireland as Manager
    – Winning All Ireland as Manager
    Repeat by n.

  14. I take your point there AndyD – – but at the time it would have been regarded as the “2nd coming of the Messiah” – a huge majority of the faithful Mayo football following wanted him back to finish off some unfinished business from his previous time in charge. It would have been very difficult for him to refuse and go against the wishes of all these supporters and then go around to their houses afterwards canvassing for votes.So I think politics was a determining factor in him going forward for the Mayo job and conversely later on it was also a determining factor in him not being able to give the job his full concentration.

  15. Thanks for the review WJ.
    It was not a book I was hoping to find in my sock this Christmas, but I’m tempted now.
    It’s strange that it’s a Mayo GAA book and so many are reluctant to get it. Just sums up JOM’s second stint in charge I suppose.

    It would be good to hear what everyone reckons on the McGuinness book. I think it would be worth getting for Keith Duggan alone.

    Anyone read Tomas O’Se’s book? Another tempting one, but worried about the potential for yerraisms and general bad memories from our previous encounters with them…
    Another minus is the fact that his brother’s book was supposedly a pile of horse manure.

  16. Bit off topic but don’t know where else to post this.

    Are all GAA season tickets sold out? It appears there are from the site as there no option to buy for Mayo.

    If this is the case can anybody let me know where/if i can buy a Cairde Maigh Eo tickets.Thanks in advance

  17. Great review W.J.
    Agree with Samuel Maguire, politics determined J.O.Ms second coming. Ironically the people who were responsible for putting him out, and keeping him out of the job for more than a decade, were the same people who facilitated the second coming by sending Mickey Moran up the road after one year (despite bringing team to A/I) when political advantage beckoned. One could easily conclude that Mayo football is more political than politics itself.

  18. I have good time for Johnno but I’d never vote for him or forgive him for ciaran Mac saga .

    He’s a mayo gaa man through and through of that I have no doubt . I’m not sure his second stint is as cynical as Ye make out either . Of course there was an element of get votes through been back in the hot seat as Mayo manager in GAA crazy county . Do Ye really think he actually did anything to lessen mayos chances of progression , maybe our bucks were still in their infancy , did we not nearly lose to London 12 months after Longford , barely beat the Ross in a rain soaked Hyde (if Donne shine had his kicking boots on ……) ,did we not get a fair trimming off Kerry in semi eventually anyway ? Surely there is evidence to suggest our backbone 06 21s had not matured and jelled into seniors till 2012 really .

    He gets a lot of stick but I don’t think a lot of it is warranted . As a young buckeen in 1989 , I’ll never forget how they came from knock airport on Monday night after ,supposed to head straight to ballagh down the Charlestown road but Johnnos first stop was to bring the team bus to the crossroads in kilmovee . A Mayo man through and through for sure .

  19. It was a dam shame that he couldn’t get over the line with us . As proven we were better than that Galway team of 1998 by beating them in 1999 and regaining Connacht after the defeat to Leitrim so we were able to beat john o’ Mahony sides but couldn’t find a way to tear down the door.

  20. Have to say that Leitrim in 1994 team were some battlers

    They beat Roscommon, Galway and Mayo that year to win the Nestor Cup

    They also conceded a first minute goal to Mayo in the Connaught Final…..normally that would be a hammer blow to a smaller county, but fair fvcks to them they came right back.

  21. Samuel Maguire,

    As I said I did not get to read the book yet but I think John’s motivation into getting back into the Mayo management role was also to complete unfinished business. Whether there was political advantage in it is a matter of opinion but my opinion is that it was a toss up one way or another. Certainly if Mayo had won in Salthill 2007 it would have been a huge advantage but they did not. Whether politics prevented him from giving full commitment and what happened in 2010 is open to question. He had won Connacht in 2009 and I suspect that the QF loss to Meath is one where reffing came into question. I have to question Outside the Pale’s suggestion that the people who forced him out in ’91 were the same people who forced Moran and Morrison out in 2006. There was a 15 year gap and surely there were changes in Co Board personnel in that time. Nor do I have any great regard for the achievement of M & M in reaching the All Ireland final in ’06. Maughan had done better in 2004 and gone even closer with Kerry in 2005 [even if it was only a QF]. M & M had done absolutely nothing to remedy the weaknesses evident in 2004 & ’05. And as I said, given Moran’s knifing of Eamon Coleman in the back in Derry in 1994, I have no sympathy for him in getting dumped.

  22. Samuel Maguire, It seems to me we are largely in agreement regarding J.O.Ms relationship with Mayo football. The political advantage referred to by me earlier was regarding C.B which was made up at the time of mainly F.G.activists, who identified O,Mah. due to his high profile, as someone who could deliver an extra F.G seat in Mayo, and were prepared to row back on their original stance against him, and give him the candidacy along with the Mgt job.
    This was an offer that naturally Johnno could not refuse, but unfortunately to the detriment of Mayo football, hence the Longford experience etc. As regards the 15 year gap between Johnno,s first and second management stint and the C.B personnel involved, many of the same people were in positions of influence, even if they were not sitting on the same chairs within the board. and some were in even more influential positions both within the G.A.A and the political sphere.

  23. one day in september is the definitive account of mcgees win, he can leave the pen down

    will probably buy the johhno book when its in the bargain bin 18 euro a bit too steep

  24. John Jennings says:
    “As proven we were better than that Galway team of 1998”

    We did not have better forwards than Galway that is for sure and that is why we are still sitting in the waiting room for Sam.

  25. fw, both Mayo and Dublin sold out their Croke Park season ticket allocations last year; only renewals are available. I’m not even sure they are offering those who don’t renew back for general sale (I have a feeling they’re not), but it’s worth registering your interest by emailing

    As for Cairde tickets, it’s anyone’s guess when they will be available. I wanted to give up my CP ticket and get a Cairde one this year (and put my money where my mouth was, so to speak) but I gave up asking in the end when they would be available and renewed my CP one just in case.

    Hopefully they will be available in time for the Christmas market – keep an eye on their Facebook page for details.

  26. Not yet having read the book, I cannot comment on it. Many of the comments here seem to be around the O’Mahony Mayo football legacy and in that regard, I am in the same camp as AndyD. Very few have moulded Mayo teams and brought them to an All Ireland final. He was the first and I have very happy memories of that time and that team. Were we unlucky to lose to Cork in their third final in a row? Maybe. Did the Co Board of that time know enough and do enough to support that effort? Maybe not.
    Were he to have done nothing else for Mayo football, I would still be grateful to him.

    As for his second stint, my memory is that what was expected from him was to again take a group with a mix of older and younger players, ease the senior guys out and build a team to win Sam. But this time, do it right away.
    Maybe my memory is playing tricks with me, but I think that the 2010 team that lost the League final and then about 6 weeks later lost to Longford had almost completed that transition. No DB; Ciaran McD; Billy Joe; David Heaney etc. His time, as AndyD points out, included narrow August Croker losses to Tyrone and to Meath unlike the Kerry result in 2011.
    So, ignoring Leitrim and Galway successes, I think that the O’Mahony Mayo legacy is more positive than negative and that his political life is irrelevant.

  27. I always sense a bit of begrudgery to JO’M around these parts, perhaps its politically motivated or something. The point is that he won 2 All Irelands, 2 other AI finals, Connachts with 3 different teams and the the U21 win. True his second stint with us ended in disaster but I rate him as the best manager we have had, based on his record. I’ll revise this view when someone manages Mayo to win it all.

  28. Dublin and Mayo have both sold full allocation of season tickets. How is the allocation per county calculated does anybody know. Dublin seem to have twice as many as mayo with season tickets also issued for upper cusack?

  29. Re Season tickets, I renewed my Caide Maigh Eo ticket about a month ago on the Croke Park website. The ticket is, I am told, to be posted out early in Dec so I don’t have it in my possession yet. The transaction has however gone through on my credit card account for the full €200. Perhaps anybody waiting to renew Cairde Maigh Eo tickets should check with Croke Park rather than waiting on word from Mayo Co Board [who are probably very busy right now with protocols of understanding etc]. I think the deadline for renewals may be fast approaching.

  30. RE Season Tickets

    Croke PArk and as far as I know Cairde can renew their season tickets through their online account. Regarding new tickets, Croke Park are sold out, but there is a waiting list this year (the first I’ve heard of it). Regarding new sales of Cairde tickets, I’m thinking that anyone that does not renew their Croke Park ticket before the 30th November, it will be converted to a cairde ticket and put on general sale.

  31. In fairness Tyrone only managed to beat us by a point in 2008 before going on to win the All Ireland. O’Mahoney is a shrewd operator who will always look after number one. I admire honesty because it such a rare trait to find within humanity. I dislike jonno because I believe he had the cunning and shrewdness to bring out the best in his charges but chose his own agenda above that of the whole. Now if he wrote an honest book about that, Id read it twice.

  32. I have always been a bit surprised and disappointed by the general attitude of a lot of supporters here to JOM I presume that its probably a political thing After all I heard nonsense before that only FG people would get picked for the team under Johnno. What bullshit. Now I have some interest in politics but it pales into insignificance when compared to my passion for Mayo. It is my belief that JOM should be judged on his GAA credentials alone on a GAA forum. So he led Mayo to U21 success during a rather bleak period for Mayo. He led us to back to back Connacht titles for the first time in 38 years (critics of JH achievements take note) He led us to a first AI final in almost 4 decades. He made us respectable, competitive and a team that brought pride to the county. He was disgarded far too early by the Co Board. As an ambitious manager he then took over Leitrim where he won a Connacht title in 1994 beating Galway Ross and Mayo in the process. I think J Cuffe you might be sufficientlly magnanimous to give him credit for that rather than suggesting Carroll should get the credit, Then he took over Galway, dethroned us as Conn champions in 1998 which broke my heart as Galway went on to win Sam. He again won AI with Galway defeating a strong meath outfit in 2001 having lost a final replay to Kerry the previous year. True his second coming with Mayo was far from successful. He should never have got that job as Moran and Morrison should never have been axed. That second spell was terrible with losses to Sligo and Longford being exceptionally low points. Yet during his second term we at least managed to beat Galway in Pearse Stadium for the first time in over 50 years. I played club football against Johnno and always found him tough and fair. Id say he is a genuinely good guy with a passion for Mayo. Constructive criticism of him as a GAA man is acceptable but having a go at him for politics should be on a political forum. I rate James Horan and John Maughan ahead of him for their contribution to Mayo football, but O Mahony has contributed a huge amount to our county and surely deserves credit for that. After all its not that we have over sated with success is it

  33. The Galway 98 Team had a lot of stars, Fallon, Donnellan, Joyce, some great midfielders and backs including Tomas Mannion. Ja Fallon was unmarkable. I recall 2 unreal points he got I’m that final. The first with outside of left boot from the wrong side swinging across the posts. The 2nd a sideline where I told the fella next to me in the pub he’ll score this because going through his head was that he could do what Maurice Fitz did a year earlier.
    But to suggest JOM was lucky is a stretch, anyone who saw the Fabulous inside the camp documentary A year till Sunday will realise jom was a top Manager.
    For the 2nd coming a fellow fan said to me we have our all Ireland winning manager now no excuses. We weren’t great in 2009 but robbed by 2 appalling reffing decisions both leading to Meath goals. Sunday game panelists totally acknowledged that. 2010 showed TD work incompatible with most other activities though I do have a sense his return was in part politically motivated.

  34. Have a feeling that maybe county board is waiting to see if a x td might be available, agree hundred per cent with John Cuffe about his time with Leitrim, and Galway, if he wants us to remember him fondly get that cart track from where Enda was born to Bellmullet upgraded to car standard

  35. Off topic but is there really no interest in how the All Ireland team play with 2 of our All Stars tonight and where is the excitement about Castlebar tomorrow?
    This will a significant bearing on the fortunes of Mayo football in 2016.
    Ciaran 2.

  36. Joe Ruane,

    Could you please explain what you mean in saying that JOM chose “his own agenda over the whole”. Maybe you are correct, maybe not but a blank unexplained statement like that should be explained.

    I have just finished read the book. The single thing which stood out for me was the Co Board refusing to arrange food for the team en route to Dublin by train for the 2009 Tyrone match and his wife having to prepare it. The idea is so outlandish that it is almost unbelievable but also so outlandish that it has to be believed. With that sort of carryon by a Co Board winning anything demands miracles from players and management. Similarly the carryon in NY with players being dragged hither and thither by individual Co Board officers. I can understand the reported player frustration during the H & C era with hangers on around the dressingrooms on matchdays. It reminds me of the story of Derry’s Eamon Coleman banning most Co Board officials from the dressingrooms in his management days and those officials revenge [when they got Coleman out of the country]. Also Sean Flanagan banning a Parish Priest from the training camp in 1950.

  37. Though I don’t know the details or quotes of any words between JOM and Ciaran McDonaldI recall discussing with people at the time that other teams knew Mayo’s tactic of his playmaker role so it had become predictable and was ceasing to be effective. Also we’d have had no plan B if he got injured. Not sure if it was a planned tactic or that he was just playing off the cuff as a free spirit and other players went with it knowing his talents.
    Pauline OS sidelined Maurice Fitz a few years early because he wanted a high tempo forward game to suit the talents of the other forwards. Some people think there was a role as roaming corner forward focussing more on scoring but not in the half line where high workrate and tackling wasn’t as compatible with his talents.. and that could extend his career but maybe not either as the tactic would again be countered by opponents. Fitz did have another year or 2 for Kerry making some great cameo appearances off thebench.

  38. Was only thinking the same Ciaran 2. Brilliant display from both O Shea and Keegan and very little mention on the blog. Even more strange is the lack of comments re Castlebar v Corofin tomorrow afternoon. This game will have a big impact on our seniors for the next couple of months at least. Maybe people are taking a well deserved break from here.

  39. As a Ballagh Rossie, would have no grá for how Johno pushed the Mayo ethos in Ballaghaderreen. But as someone who was trained by JOM since I was a young lad, have to say the amount of work he put in on the ground would have to be seen to be believed. I could tell many stories but I remember one Summer I had a job (won’t say) and had not showed up for a few evening trainings for u16s and one day I was there labouring away at some menial task when who shows up but you know who. Will you be at training tonight?he sez, and that’s all he said and me being an average enough member of the team couldn’t believe he showed up a my safe, Summer workplace. I will I says ashamed for missing a few trainings and sure enough I did not miss any after that. He chased us all down to be at training. Drove us around the county to games and we had a good old laugh once on the way to Kiltimagh when Sam Cooke lyric played on the radio: “don’t know much about geography”. He was really one of those tireless small town club guys who went on to win the ultimate prize. Galway so be it. He won all ireland u21 for Mayo, unearthed players like Noel Durkin that inspired the next generation. Mayo should be more proud of him.

  40. Has O Mahony in exposing the county board re 2008 V Tyrone and team grub given us a Van Halen moment?

    Van Halen had as part of their contract had a requirement for a bowl of M&Ms with all the brown ones removed. No, they weren’t being capricious. They figured if you couldn’t get the brown M&Ms right, what else was wrong. In Colorado they found a brown M&M. Promptly cancelling the show, that night the weight of the gear forced the stage to go through the floor costing a €100$K worth of damage.

    It’s the little things that cost Mayo and the county board carry a sack full of them. O Mahony should have told that story at a co board meeting in September ’08 not in a book 7 years later. Witness the farce of the flights to London 2011, the holiday to the US for the 2012 team, the McHale Park mess, the treatment of Micky Moran and Kevin McStay, John P Keans minors where the board refused to pay lodgings for the 4 lads not on the official S/F panel in Dublin despite them training all year. I could go on.

    Instead of new blood we get two previous warriors contesting the treasurers office. We are mired down in a process of chartering where I have no doubt the substance of progress is held up by looking back not forward. Mayo have the players and occasionally the managers but never ever have they the required smooth running non selfish executive like Dublin Tyrone and Kerry. And in the words of Eamon Mongey that has been eternal and a hundred Rochys won’t change that..,but funnily enough one group could, our clubs could revolutionise the county by holding the executive to proper account not cap touching subservience currently on display.

  41. Mayoman8 and Ciaran 2 – agree wholeheartedly with both of your sentiments. Let’s forget JOM and all this sniping at the CB… I’d much rather live in the now and look forward to the future…and the next chapter of our future opens today with the big game between Castlebar and Corofin. I think its going to be a difficult task for the Mitchels today and nothing short of a top drawer performance is going to be required to topple the AI champions. I have a sneaky feeling they will do it as they will have learned a lot from their semi-final game. I’ve no doubt Stephen Rochford will be keeping more than a glancing eye on the performances of Paddy Durcan, Danny Kirby, Ger McDonagh, Eoghan O’Reilly and James Durcan today.

  42. Well done O’Shea & Keegan last night on international duty. I was there and have to say you would be proud of them. What a full forward line in Brogan O’Shea and McManus. And if ever there was proof needed as to how O’Shea can dominant and reek havoc on the edge of the box it was there on show last night – play a traditional 3 man full forward line restricting the ability of the opposition to double mark him, worry less about the opposition and more about maximising our serious talents and lets see how far it carries us in 2016..
    And finally the powers that be should take a break from scripting the charter today and perhaps make their way to the capital and throw a blanket around O’Shea. For certain sure, having dominated and at times destroyed a field last night filled with professional athletes reportedly worth between €5m and €10m, I would not be at all surprised if some generous Aussie scout is having a word in his ear today.

  43. Well done to Lee Keegan and Aidan O’Shea, after the season that they have had, it was great for them to be part of a winning team in Croke Park. Maybe Mayo players are at last beginning to believe that they really belong at that elite level and are becoming more comfortable there, hopefully Stephen Rochford can reinforce this even more in the coming years. I thought that their skill levels were of a very high standard, left and right hands and legs were used to great effect by both players. A rising tide lifts all boats. Continuous improvement is now the mantra with these players involved with Mayo.

    Best of luck to Castlebar today, they are going for a three in a row for Mayo clubs. It should be a very interesting game for a variety of reasons. It will be a very tough game for them but most of the pressure is probably on Corofin so Castlebar have nothing to lose really. I’d love to see them kicking some more points from play and from distance today, we really need to see our Mayo players improving in this area if we are going to be a force in future years.

  44. Big ball catching by the Aussies around the middle esp. Accurate foot passing by Aussies!! Skillful speedy scooping of ball of ground by Aussies. And all done with roundy ball. Well done the Irish but a lesson is there for aspects of our game…..kick out beyond a certain line for instance to encourage exciting midfield action perhaps!! The definite tackle around the middle dispenses with a lot of rubbish but I would nt have it….much better to persist with,as is, and insist on the skill of proper tackling and supervision of such!

  45. Well done Castlebar.

    Great performance away against reigning champions. Pitch looked really dodgy on TV.

    Looking at the hurling now here on TG4 and you see the disparity in the length of the grass between the 2 matches It must have made for some serious heavy going and probably suited a bigger physical team.

    Hopefully our own County situation will be cleaned up now soon now as well. Tired of how it continues to drag on at this stage.

  46. hueyandlouis – I’m not prepared to have a debate with you on the deletion of your comment but, just to be clear, the reason I deleted it was because the criticism you made of Stephen Rochford was in the context of the Mayo manager’s job, a job that he hasn’t even yet been appointed to. I’m simply not going to let you abuse the comment facility on the site by jumping on the man’s head before he’s even in the seat. If that’s the kind of criticism you want to voice then I’m afraid you’ll have to go somewhere else to make it because I’m not prepared to host it here. From my point of view, that’s the end of the discussion on this point.

  47. Congrats to Castlebar,it may well have been in thehueyandlouis frame,but I was going to say as a joke that I would suit SR for corofin to lose, not that I believe it for one second, good luck to Castlebar in the future, also corofin

  48. Sorry about that Andy D, I just logged on and I will try as best as I can to clear the clouds in regards to your query. I thought that the explanation was obvious within the statement. “John O mahoney chose his own agenda above the whole.” I believe and I may be wrong that JOM’s primary reason for taking on the role of Mayo manager was to boost his political profile. Hope that is clear enough.

  49. OK, Joe. But I think you’re in the modern mode of suspecting something devious in every politician even if it’s hard to find it. Is it not reasonable to think that his motives in 2006 may have been the same as when he first took the job? Or took the Leitrim and Galway jobs? I think that if he were the self calculating type he would have opted out of both the Galway and Leitrim jobs when success had been achieved rather than staying on. There would surely have been good offers on the table.
    Or do you have a reason for preferring your own theory?

  50. John Cuffe I loved your Van Halen story. So many times we supporters hit out at managers and players in full knowledge of the third world approach of the systems that organises the county teams. “In spite of and not because of”, should be our cry for 2016

  51. Re.the debate between Joe Ruane and Andy D. on the motivation of J.O M. returning to the Mgt job, it is worth noting that he declined the job the previous year (as was his right) and which I believe reflected his genuine wisdom that coming back at that time was not a good idea for him,. from a football point of view, given where the county was at, from an Official, and player viewpoint. However when the powers that be (mainly FG activists in C.B) who kept him out of the Mgt.job for years, wanted someone to win a seat for FG suddenly the candidacy and the team management position together seemed a good idea for all concerned, and as usual the football interests of County became secondary to political opportunism.
    Hard to blame Johnno for accepting the chance of a seat in the corridors of power, as a gift from his old adversaries, in their hour of political need. Such were / are,. the vagaries of Mayo football / politics !

  52. John O’Mahony as I recall was quite clear that he was taking a break from County management after quitting the Galway job in 2005. Which seems quite reasonable.
    I have been involved in a number of Co Boards down the years but not in Mayo as I have been out of the county all my adult life. While many people involved in Co Boards are also involved in politics, often very involved, I have never seen politics influence decisions made at Co Board. I have never seen elections in the GAA influenced by political allegiances. Indeed any attempt to mix the two has always got short shrift. This goes back to the civil war when it is well known the the GAA was the great post war unifier. A story told by a friend from the early days of the NI troubles in a border county illustrates. A Co Board was trying to fix a match at short notice. One of the clubs insisted it could not be done, their delegate explaining that ” half of our crowd are in the IRA and on the run, Most of the others are in the Gardai and are out looking for them. How do you expect us to get them all together in a few days?”
    Maybe the GAA is different in Mayo, I do not know. But I don’t think that politics is.

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