Mayo News football podcast bonus episode – Brendan Harrison special

Well, the weather’s been so nice and we’re all in a such good mood so what better time to land you with an extra Mayo News football podcast helping? Here you go.

This bonus episode has as its centrepiece an interview by Mike Finnerty with All-Star corner-back Brendan Harrison, which was recorded at the press event last night. I haven’t listened to the audio yet – I’m aiming to do so on the drive west shortly – so I’m as wise as you are about whether or not the Aghamore man gives any indication about whether or not he’ll be fit to face Galway. Only one way to find out, then.

Aside from that, host Rob Murphy and I chat a bit about the Galway game and the podcast also features a discussion we both had at the recent Connacht championship launch with Leitrim manager Brendan Guckian. This sets the scene nicely for the Ridge County’s championship opener with London this weekend.

The bonus episode of the podcast is now available to listen to on iTunes and SoundCloud, the latter without even having to leave the site – just click the play button below. Enjoy!

20 thoughts on “Mayo News football podcast bonus episode – Brendan Harrison special

  1. Enjoyed that, lads. Well done. Harry comes across as a class act in interviews, and Mike F questions him well.
    I also felt yeer assessment of the media coverage of the Aido furore was very good.
    As a few of you know I regularly work with the different newspapers in Talbot Street and I have complained about coverage when I’ve felt it warranted it, but – Breheny (where to start?) and occasionally McGee aside – I find the Indo newspaper to be fair enough. I stress the word ‘newspaper’ there. Print and digital are two separate entities that cross over occasionally but basically do their own thing. The website is a very different animal ruled by the demand for page clicks/website traffic. If you went onto the website on Monday night/Tuesday morning for example and went to the GAA section you’d have found a main story that has a photo with a line down the middle of it and Brolly on one side and Aido on the other. The headline read: “’He’s not the player I thought he was’ – Joe Brolly weighs in on Aidan O’Shea debate”. There was then a link to three or four more Aidan O’Shea/selfiegate-related stories below the lead. Basically is driving this story heavily. But if you see the Irish Independent newspaper on Monday or Tuesday there is not one Aido story printed, save for Colm Keys’ Sligo match report on Monday which I don’t think anyone can complain about. Keys is a fine journalist who gives us a fair crack of the whip.
    Now consider this. The match report on the website, as Willie Joe correctly pointed out in his Monday match reports wrap, had the following headline:
    “’It’s absolute nonsense’ – Mayo boss Stephen Rochford blasts Bernard Flynn for Aidan O’Shea criticism” (and had a photo of Aido)
    … but if you read Monday’s paper with the same match report printed in it, the headline read:
    “O’Connors add some sheen to lacklustre Mayo performance” (and had a photo of Diarmuid bleeding)
    This is par for the course.
    The reason I know all this three nights’ later is because I was halfway through writing a comment on this very subject when the Manchester bombing happened and I got distracted.
    While I’m at it I’d highlight the fact that the Brolly/Aido story is basically promoting the’s GAA podcast – and that the only selfiegate story in Saturday’s newspaper I can recall was a column by Sinead Kissane which backed Aido and cut Bernard Flynn down to size.
    Any online media organisation I’ve ever been involved with will hang onto editorial direction to a certain extent … but traffic is king and whether we like it or not Aido is box office and Brolly even more so. The back of Tuesday’s Indo newspaper has a yarn about the Carlow manager. Not many page clicks in that.
    I guess my main point would be that while is a separate entity to the Indo paper, the Sunday Indo and the Herald, it can post the vast majority of their stories on the website and claim them all as their own. The Herald is a Dublin-centric paper which has little interest in Mayo. The Sindo and the Indo sports sections are two separate backdesks and editorial staffs. Yet Paul Kimmage’s story on Sunday, which quoted some Monaghan prick over in America (interview was done three weeks ago) ripping Mayo apart, was being thrashed by some of our supporters as the Indo’s anti-Mayo agenda.
    Perversely, by clicking we are of course pushing the story to the top of the agenda, as John remarked on the podcast.
    Anyway, I’m braced already for flak on this but as a newspaper man it saddens me a bit to see the better, more earnest parts of the old trade being lumped in with the new clickbait culture of bullshit.
    I just logged onto the GAA section of the Indo website there now and the first two stories are about Aido. I give up. Fuck it all.

  2. In other news, I was settled in An Sportlann well before noon on Sunday. I was sitting there minding my own business in the big open part of the bar when this old man walked in and sat down across from me with a cup of tea. He started making small talk and I was happy to chat away and then he revealed he played for Mayo back in the fifties. I couldn’t believe my luck. He said his name was Brendan McLoughlin and it was fascinating stuff. He was part of the team that won Connacht in 1955 in the last hurrah for a lot of the boys of ’51. What was really interesting as well was that, having left Mayo at the age of eight to go to school in Dublin, he said he ended up playing minor with the Dubs and won the 1954 All-Ireland with them. And that winter, aged 19, he was selected and played three league games at midfield in Dublin’s senior team – imagine, a side that went on to win the All-Ireland the next year – BUT over the winter Eamon Mongey rang him and asked him to play for Mayo. So, not feeling entirely at home in the Dublin set-up, Brendan declared for Mayo and went on to win Connacht that season, but lose – you guessed it – to Dublin in a replayed semi-final. He played for several years after that but always lived in Dublin (Dalkey) and played football (and hurled) for Kickhams, Na Fianna and Civil Service. He said the fallout from his departing the Dubs wasn’t pleasant.
    Anyone shed any light?
    Regardless, everything he said to me (if I remember it correctly) checks out from the little bit of research I’ve done since. We chatted for well over an hour and it was a pleasure. He said he’s 82 now and drives down from Dublin himself for the matches.
    The only real mention on the site I can find of him is here, in reaction to a piece John Cuffe did a few years ago:

  3. Thanks for that, Hego – really interesting insight into how the worlds of traditional and online media often clash and how, in this instance, we’ve ended up being the meat in the sandwich.

  4. Hego – That’s a very interesting post you put up there, it’s opened my eyes to the workings of the media and explains a lot.
    Living outside of Ireland, it’s not always easy to get a copy of the Indo, so I rely on the online version. Unfortunately that’s the version that seems to be driving a particular agenda (and is ‘click bait’ etc as you mention), so I’ve pretty much given up on it at this point.

    You’re right about Colm Keys too, he’s certainly the standout sports journalist in the Indo.

  5. There’s a difference commenting on what he thinks during a game as he is paid to do and what some journalists are doing to Aidan in my opinion mayomanindublin.

  6. Hego, great to read your piece on that prince of Mayo footballers – Brendan McLoughlin. I remember even today Brendan’s wonderful performance in the 1995 All-Ireland semi-final when we drew with the Dubs. It was my first time ever in Croke Park, and I was accompanied by my late brother Jimmy and by Eddie Melvin who was to play with Mayo in later years and indeed became my brother-in-law when I married his sister Patricia.

    Delighted to hear Brendan is still going strong at age 82 – shows what clean living will do for you! Hego refers to John Fogarty’s piece which reminds me that the great full-back Paddy Prendergast played for Donegal before declaring for his native Mayo where he won two All-Irelands, and Dan O’Neill from Castlebar Mitchels garnered an All-Ireland with Louth before ending his footballing career with his native Mayo.

  7. Things seemed a lot more fluid with player movements back in the day. There were far more player transfers between counties.
    It was interesting that Brendan Harrison mentioned “patience” as the one piece of advice for younger players. No one had Brendan flagged for big things but he got there improving himseld bit by bit each year.

  8. Brendan got in because of our crisis in the full back line last year with caff and barret out. He took his chance. He improved in every game he played. Would we be raving about him now if we have had a fully fit panel last year? I doubt it. I’m delighted that management stuck with boland all year, having watched the Sligo game back I think he’s really improved the more game time he gets. I would however liked to have seen another young player start more games in the forwards. Possibly loftus or even regan although the latter has got plenty of chances. It’s games where young player learn their trade far more then the training pitch.

  9. That’s great reading Hego thanks for sharing that story. Delighted to hear about Brendan and the journey from Dalkey to Castlebar for the first round game. Fair play.

  10. Good point there NiallMc1993. For newbies it’s like an apprenticeship. You have to learn by doing and the more you do the more you learn.

    We’re all familiar with the ‘little things’ argument that we are so close, all it needs is small things to change, like reducing errors and stupid fouls.

    SportsJoe blog (it’s in one of the other posts), effectively analysed our Sligo performance in the area of fouls. One of the ‘little things’ I am worried about is free taking. Not sure whether it’s the actual frees, distances, weather and so on, but there are some frees that are problematic for Cillian in the 40 to 55 yards range. We have sidelined Robbie, so that option is closed off. On the right side Kevin Mc is very inconsistent, as the terrible effort last Sunday showed. That leaves Evan Regan and Conor Loftus. Loftus was very effective, in the U21 campaign last year, with frees from reasonable distance and pressure kicks. Evan has shown consistent form from the right, though I’m not sure about distance. Both aren’t playing long enough in games to make a contribution here. Jason Doc is a possibility but had a bad time in the league last year.That leaves Liam Irwin, who does tick those boxes, but who is no longer on the panel.

    Management, we have a little problem.

  11. The free taking is really worrying me too catcol. Cillian was patchy at best through the league, often scoring most of the difficult kicks and missing 1/2 of the so called easier ones. It really highlighted how lucky we’ve been that in the last few years we haven’t had to worry about it as CO’C was so reliable but not so this year. And in my opinion it’s not just the ones at the edge of his range that are an issue. There have been several this year that in previous seasons he would have safely slotted over that have drifted wide. Through the league I kept telling myself that maybe the ground conditions were having an impact. It was a couple of seasons since we had CO’C for the entire league so I was hoping that maybe it was a case of him struggling for consistency on the heavier winter/spring pitches. McHale park looked in mint condition last week though…..

  12. Don’t worry about Cillian – he will be right when he needs to be. Frees from the right are an issue though – Kevin Mc is far too unreliable and Regan isn’t getting on the team. Is cillian a better option for all frees, even on his wrong side? I think he probably is

  13. I read somewhere that we scored 16 times from 27 chances in the Sligo game, that’s a scoring return of 59%. So we will need to improve on that in the games ahead, as well as keeping clean sheets (in terms of not conceding goals).

  14. Hego – my father knows Brendan quite well and he has some great stories of football during those years. I understand Dublin played a fair few lads exiled in the capital during the fifties.

    They called a halt to proceedings the year Brendan won his minor as too many culchies were making the grade and holding back their own cubs.

  15. Agree that the frees are a concern. Kevin Mc most certainly not up to the level required from the right. Freeman was a good backup option in this area also. I’d rather see cillian hitting all frees within 45, left and right, than other options. Not sure Hennelly is such a loss in this regard. He was hit and miss at best in terms of conversion rate, as I recall it. Certainly no Brian Sheehan anyway.
    Hopefully cillian can recover 2012-2015 free taking form and it won’t be an issue.

  16. Thanks a lot, lads.
    Even the Ciaran Whelan piece highlighted above as being in the Indo … is his Herald column! I agree though with your point though, Mayomanindublin, it’ll take a while not to see him in that light after the drawn final analysis. I’d say with this column he’s just laying the groundwork now for later in the summer when one of the Dubs acts the thug and there’s a media circus and he has to defend them.
    John McHale – It sounds like you picked one hell of a game for your first time in Croke Park. A thing that struck me, and what seemed to be Brendan’s main regret, was that very late in the replay and with Mayo just a point behind Jimmy Curran (who of course scored all of our 1-7 that day) got in on goal and chose to shoot with his weaker foot or something like that and it was either deflected wide or he just missed. It was something along those lines. And I just remember Brendan went on a little bit about this near-miss and it seemed to be a sort of sliding-doors moment for landing the big one. I should stress he seemed very happy with his career and all that but he had a vivid memory of a late chance to beat the Dubs going agonisingly wide. (Speaking of which, I stumbled on this while snooping around: )
    Pjmcmanus – I wouldn’t mind but I’d just said to him I’d taken the train down because I found the driving tiring during the league…
    Rock – He did say something like that alright and he that he had no problem with the rule introduced. I think he said he was the only non-Dub on the senior team he played in, and that the rest of the lads were Vinnies men.

  17. My approach to the championship is to just enjoy the weekend of each match.
    As per sporting odds most likely we dont even reach the All Ireland final this year. We have our probably 1 in 8 to 1 in 10 chance of going all the way this year. Thats enough for the roll of the dice hope.
    There is this narrative that this is the final throw of the dice. For some players, that will probably be true. Win or lose you’d expect some retirements and an odd taking a year out.
    We had a series of decent minor teams 2010 to 2014. These days there is no such thing as a defined team. I expect next year to be much different than when we set out in 2011.
    We just need to keep rolling those dice and take care of our club football.

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