It’s Monday but it’s also a Bank Holiday and after that month’s worth of rain that fell here in less than 24 hours over the weekend, the sun is out again. And we’re back in the All-Ireland semi-final, for the fourth year in a row.
There’s a whole truckload of stuff in the papers about yesterday’s match and I’ll do a quick sweep of what’s out there in a minute. First, there are the two controversial issues arising from the game that merit a bit of discussion.
The first relates to the time-keeping and Colm O’Neill’s decision to go for the point rather than have a pot at goal with that last-second free. It’s easy, and cost-free, for us to sympathise with the Leesiders on this one, given that we were in the same position at the end of last year’s All-Ireland final. My own viewpoint on yesterday’s brouhaha is the same as what I expressed when it happened to us last September – O’Neill, like Cillian then, probably should have gone for goal but most likely (like Cillian) he’d have missed. We ultimately secured the win through those late points from Donie (which I think has to go right in there as one of my most favourite Mayo points of all time – an ungainly, hoofing up-and-under that somehow ended on target) and Lee, leaving them with the impossible task of getting a third goal to pull the match from the fire.
The second issue centres on James Horan’s post-match comments and his refusal at the end of the game to shake hands with Brian Cuthbert. I know there won’t be universal agreement on this but I think our man was absolutely right to do what he did and say what he said. He was right to be hacked off with Cork’s sneaky, underhand tactics and equally right to call them out over it. Shaking Cuthbert’s hand and then giving the Cork management a bollocking when speaking with the press could have laid him open to the charge of being a hypocrite so I say fair play to him for being consistent on the issue.
And I’m not surprised he’s so pissed off about it either. What Cork did was wholly deliberate – the management naming Kevin and Cillian in advance and then their players rough-housing them from start to finish during the game. Kevin got dog’s abuse from them all day, was laid out early on and then Shields tried to drag him off the floor in the aftermath to that incident. I know it was more than a bit silly of Kevin to stretch Goold when he came back on but if ever there was an emphatic “Don’t Fuck With Me” message, then that was it.
Anyway, they’re out, we’re still in and once again we’re gearing up for an All-Ireland semi-final. Right so, onto the papers.
The Irish Independent has a report on the senior match, the minor match, post-match quotes from the two managers, a kind of overview piece by Vincent Hogan, analysis from Eoin Liston (in which Bomber focuses exclusively on the fouling we did while remaining silent on the thuggery they perpetrated throughout – the Yerras are getting the subliminal messages in early it would appear) and analysis of both matches from Eugene McGee.
Others: GAA (senior match, minor match), RTÉ (match report, quotes from James on the match and on Cork), The Score (senior match, minor match, match tracker, MOTM poll (which bizarrely doesn’t have Sheamie on its shortlist), post-match talking points, quotes from James, quotes from O’Neill and Cuthbert), Hogan Stand (senior match, minor match, quotes from Enda Gilvarry, quotes from James about the game and about Cork, quotes from Seamus O’Shea), Breaking News (match report, quotes).
That should be more than enough for you to sit and drink your fill on yesterday’s action.
Two final things before finishing up. The first is to reiterate what I said earlier in the week about the colour clash in yesterday’s match, which turned out to be even worse in reality than what I was anticipating based on my memory of past games between ourselves and the Leesiders. It was like Man United and Liverpool playing against each other in their home strips, only with less theatrical diving. From start to finish I struggled to tell the teams apart, continually repeating to myself a refrain of “I don’t know which side has it but I hope to fuck it’s us”. It was a complete joke and if I can find the time and energy to summon myself to action it’s one that I intend to write a stern letter to Padraig Duffy about.
Finally, I don’t want to end on a moan so I have to bring up Martin McHugh’s incredibly stupid comment on The Sunday Game last night that Colm Cooper (you’re right, that’s him, The Gooch – the finest forward anyone of us is ever likely to see play the game) was no more than a “two-trick pony”. I know the point he was trying to make about James O’Donoghue being a great talent was a valid one but, when challenged by Kevin McStay and Dermot Earley, the poor eejit then let his mouth run away with him, culminating in his casting a truly ludicrous slur on one of the real greats of the game. Just when you think The Sunday Game has no surprises left to offer, out pops this classic. Unbelievable, Marty.