Photo: Mayo Mick
It’s Monday, another bitterly cold one in this perma-winter we appear to be stuck in but, with some uplifting match reports to sift through, things could be a lot worse.
The nationals (Irish Times, Irish Independent, Irish Examiner) cover much of the same ground, all pointing to the inspirational performance put in by Man of the Match Barry Moran and all carrying the same range of quotes from James Horan and his opposite number Jimmy McGuinness. Colm Gannon in the Mayo Advertiser, meanwhile, has both a match report and some more post-match quotes from an obviously relieved James Horan, who says:
We should have won it by a lot more, but we didn’t and we lacked maybe a bit of confidence and panicking on the shot. But we kept going and kept plugging away so that’s far more rewarding and beneficial for the team, we got the two points and we’re delighted. In all the games we’ve played, we’ve played a lot of good football at times, but we’ve been way to [sic] inconsistent for division one football. We kept it going today and that was our first aim.
That’s an honest enough assessment, you’d have to say. Clearly, it was a far from faultless performance and we made loads of mistakes yesterday, both in terms of passes going astray and some horrible shot selection. But then again so did they. What was great, though, was that – as James says – we kept working away for the full seventy minutes, with no hint of the collapse we’d suffered the previous weekend and it was, as James notes, this workrate and, in particular, the number of times we succeeded in dispossessing them, that ultimately won the day for us.
Other match reports: GAA.ie (scroll down the page a bit to get to it), RTÉ, BBC (which has a great photo of Ryan Bradley’s gloved fingers coming far too close to Richie Feeney’s left eye for my liking), Belfast Telegraph, The Score, Hogan Stand, Breaking News.
Emmet Ryan at Action81.com provides his analysis on where yesterday’s game was won and lost while Mayo Mick has all you’ll want in the way of photos of the match (some of which you’ll already have seen here).
Finally, some thoughts on the final round permutations. Looking at the table, the one thing we can be sure about at this stage is that Down are definitely gone (they can only catch us on the head-to-head, which won’t be enough to save them and they’re definitely gone if it comes down to points difference) and that one out of ourselves, Donegal and Kerry will join the unmourned (geddit?) Northerners in Division Two next year. If we win we’ll not only avoid the drop but we’ll also most likely fail to avoid a rather unwanted league semi-final place. If Donegal and Kerry win too, then a big Donegal win over the Dubs could see them take fourth place on points difference instead of us but that metric also seems to show that Cork are safe regardless, as their points difference is way better than the Kerrymen’s and so on a potential four-way tie on six points they can’t get relegated.
If Donegal and Kerry win and we lose, then we’re definitely for the hop. Donegal have the advantage of facing a Dublin side that will no doubt be utterly confused at the mix-up that will see them having to perform for the second and final time this year away from the pristine playing surface at Croke Park. Moreover, if Jim Gavin persists in his policy of resting key performers such as Rory O’Carroll, Michael Darragh Macauley (whose introduction from the bench on Saturday night finally goaded his side into action against Down), Paul Flynn and Bernard Brogan, then it’s hard to see the Dubs coming away from Ballybofey with a positive result against a team playing both for their pride and their Division One survival.
Kerry’s task up in Omagh is an immeasurably harder one and will come as an interesting sequel to that fin de siècle qualifier clash between the counties in Killarney last summer, when Kerry’s victory over their Northern tormentors was celebrated in a bizarre OTT manner. Revenge, as they say, is a dish best served cold and, quoted in this morning’s papers, Mickey Harte sounded like a man making already space in his fridge for Sunday week. This match could well be the one that will ultimately decide our Division One status for next year and with Paddy Power now quoting the Yerras at 8/15 for the drop (as opposed to 10/3 for us and 7/2 for Donegal) there’s every reason to hope that it will do so in the right way from our perspective.
That said, the best way that we can sort out our own destiny is to do so ourselves down on Leeside. And, indeed, it’s not as if we don’t have a score to settle with the Donkey Ayters either. The Lord helps those who helps themselves and all that.