Old year, new year

Frozen ball2009 is almost done and, once again, it’s time to stop ruminating about what might have been in the year that’s dying on us and instead to start turning our thoughts to what might be over the course of the one that’s about to be born.  So, no more blubbering into your beers about the manner of our defeat to Meath and what might have been in the minor final, okay?  Who cares about all that when the month to come holds the twin delights of the FBD Insurance League and the Tim Kelly Engineering Floodlit Cup?

There’s still the New Year and one more weekend to navigate through before the action starts but hopefully by early next week we might start hearing about a panel for the FBD and then, before we know it, there’ll be some real matches to talk about once more.  As ever, I’m looking forward to the year’s football that lies ahead.  Not with any great confidence nor, indeed, any funny feelings in my waters (no, that’s just middle-age) about how we’ll fare in 2010 but instead it’s because yet another year’s action is there to be played out and all those abstract hopes haven’t yet been tempered by messy reality.  Soon enough that’ll happen.

So, in this rarified atmosphere, may I be so bold as to express three hopes for the year to come?  Okay, then – here goes.

First is that we hit the ground running and lay down a few markers over the course of the spring to set us up for the summer.  Our path to the All-Ireland series in the coming year will, regardless of whether or not it’s via the front door or the scenic route, be a tricky one so the sooner we’re into the swing of getting used to hard battles, the better.  Heck, I’d even like to see us win the FBD.

Second, I’d love to see us claim an All-Ireland U21 title.  Ray went oh so close with his two minor teams and it’d be great to see him meld the best of these into an irrepressible force at U21 level in 2010.  That’ll be a tall order, as both Galway and Roscommon will also have genuine hopes of going all the way in this grade next year but an U21 All-Ireland would, especially in light of those two near misses at minor level, be something tangible to celebrate as well as being just the tonic to get us to raise our game at senior level.

Third, the seniors need to get back to the All-Ireland series and, this time, we need to do ourselves justice once we get there.  I always prefer the Route One approach to getting there but that should be secondary to the straightforward aim of simply securing a place at the table with the big boys once again.  The draw means that Connacht will be far from easy for us and we all know what our record in the qualifiers is like so we should be under no illusions as to how difficult it will be to make the final eight next year.  If we don’t manage to do this, however, it means we’re backsliding from what isn’t a great position to start with so the aim of lining out in Croke Park in August has got to be our primary one at senior level in 2010.

So, another year of football lies ahead and, from my standpoint, another year of blathering about it here.  You might notice that I’ve made a few tweaks to the site, having added page links to my audio ramblings and to a new Flickr site I’ve set up where I’m in the process of dumping pictures from matches I’ve been at from 2006 to date.  This latter development is a work in progress, as I’ve only got pictures from 2006 and 2007 uploaded yet (and my broadband connection is acting up at the minute) but I’ll be adding to this collection gradually over the next few weeks and I then plan to add pictures from matches as and when they occur.

Speaking of photos, by the way, do you like the new one I’m using for the banner on the site? It’s from a photo I took at the Connacht final in Pearse Stadium back in July, on a day that turned out to be a rather happy one for us.  Here’s hoping that there’ll be days like that to look forward to in the year to come as well.  Buen año nuevo, hombres.

7 thoughts on “Old year, new year

  1. Happy New Year Willie Joe!! Thanks for all the entertainment you have provided throughout 2009, I hope you have good days to write about in 2010.

    Whatever about the disappointments of losing to Meath, the day in Salthill in July when we claimed the Connacht title was a special one. Provincial championships may not be as important in the eyes of many these days but the Nestor Cup is one of the three serious trophies we can win each year so we should be happy to have something to show for the year.

    A Connacht clean-sweep at minor, u21 and senior is also an excellent achievement.

    I think the FBD League this January is an important one for us. The manager can set the marker early on with the panel – challenge the new guys in the set-up to go out and make a mark. This does not have to be done in public, but internally an aim to win the bloody thing should be sit. No poor mouth attitude in the press either – players tied up with colleges, training ban etc etc. Set the marker early in the year – we will have 15 guys on the pitch – they have a responsibility to each other and must show that they are winners and leaders on the pitch – no point making excuses for them before we start.

    If Mayo as a footballing county can adopt that kind of attitude and I think we will be a good distance towards having better days.

  2. Happy New year to you WJ. I am gone past the Santa and that stuff as regards Mayo but their is one thing I pray and hope for…that is to play with a bit of passion and joy.Its what we are but JOM has fairly squeezed the pips of it away. Passion and the rest will follow.

  3. As a non “chap” Willie Joe, can I pose a question? How come our Masters team can win three All Irelands in four years, beating Tyrone in this year’s final? Those very same players, a few short years ago, would have flopped against the likes of Tyrone in an All Ireland Senior Football final. If anyone can solve that one, I think we will have made progress in discovering what happens our Seniors on Final Day.

  4. Hi Grainne – Happy New Year; the ‘chaps’ reference was a specific one and wasn’t meant to exclude anyone of the fairer gender (though like ‘lads’, I’d tend to use such terms, a la the practice in the Mid-West, to cover all comers). I’m not sure what the story is with the Masters and why they weren’t able to do the same at senior level, though I think the lads currently starring at over 40s level weren’t the same ones (apart from Pat Fallon and a few more) who were representing us at senior level 15-20 years back.

  5. Fair play to Grainne, have managed ladies and they are the most honest and perceptive to deal with. Unfortunatly winning at masters level is like winning an interfirms title, it means something only to those that are closest to the team. Mayo actually have a magnificant record against Tyrone , in fact we actually head them in overall titles , mainly due to our superior league record. Winning masters or minors, even U21 doesnt mean a thing unless its the big tuna.Sam or burst unfortunatly. Most of the masters players in my opinion never cut it at inter county level when it mattered. But all ctredit to them for what they have achieved today. However it is not an indicator to our past or future.

  6. Can only agree with the sentiment about goign for it from the start this year , look at the importance Cody and O’connor attach to the league in their books , we should be looking to give all competitions a serious go and get into some battles with serious opposition which will stand us in good stead later.

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