Quick death or glorious recovery?

You’ll probably have read all you want to by now about yesterday’s latest collapse under Johnno (which I’m going to denote henceforth by way of the handy acronym CUJ) but, if you haven’t, here’s the box set, in the form of match reports from the Mayo Advertiser, RTÉ, Hogan Stand, Breaking News, the Sunday Tribune and the Connacht GAA website.  There’s also a match report on the Mayo GAA website but there’s no direct link to the report itself so you’ll need to get yourself to their home page and navigate from there.

They’re all much of a muchness and, to be honest, there’s little point trawling through them again.  An Spailpín’s thoughts on the match are, though, worth a read, as they always are whenever he turns his attention to footballing matters.

There’s very little from that lot in the way of post-match quotes and I suppose what was said after the match by those closest to the action is of far more interest to us at this stage.  I haven’t yet seen any of Johnno’s quotes from the session with the press right after the game but I gather that he was as prickly yesterday evening as he’d been after the league final and that the questions being chucked at him were no softer either.

I did, though, hear an interview that Newstalk did with him earlier today and I’ve already tweeted some of the highlights of this.  In this interview, Johnno was obviously keen to move the debate on from last night’s latest CUJ and so there was plenty of blah about the need for the squad to regroup and focus on the road ahead in the qualifiers.  He was unwilling to say much about why he thought last night’s CUJ happened and, when questioned on this, he instead went off on a tangent about the degree to which he’s under the microscope (as in, more than other inter-county managers) and claimed that this is part of the job of being the Mayo manager.  He was upbeat enough when talking about the qualifiers, saying that it’s better to be in them now rather than after a Connacht final loss and that, as it’s knockout from here on, we could be facing either “a quick death or a glorious recovery”.  Naturally, he said he was hoping for the latter to happen.

Aren’t we all?  When the dust settles after this latest CUJ (our second this year and we’re still not out of the championship – CUJs are increasing in frequency, lads, in case you haven’t noticed), that hope is all we’re left with.  If we define a glorious recovery to mean a better championship performance than Johnno has managed to date in his current tenure, then it has to involve us reaching the last four in the All-Ireland series.  To do this, however, we need to win four rounds of qualifier games (with rounds two, three and four all a week apart) and top this by beating one of the provincial champions at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage.  While it’s not impossible for us to do this, you’d have to conclude that it’d certainly be an unlikely outcome.  But that’s the target we need to aim at and, with the first round of the qualifiers starting in three weeks time, I guess we’ll find out soon enough what kind of appetite, if any, Johnno and the lads have for getting themselves out of their current predicament.

46 thoughts on “Quick death or glorious recovery?

  1. thought that comment from him was a bit rich WJ as he put his own predecessors under a microscope himself before he took his second stint at the helm…

  2. I always felt that JOM wasnt really keen on the Mayo job. Otherwise he would have jumped in after John Maughan resigned. His criticisms of Maughan at the time were polite but very potent and were indicative of a man who wasnt contemplating ever having to ‘walk the talk’ himself.
    Then political realities began to kick in and the AI final of 2006 and he was snookered.
    Now that he is in place he cannot pull out easily because there would be political consequences.
    I feel JOM himself would like an honourable escape at this stage because I’m sure he knows that the future is bleak and that the confidence of the team and the county is at a real low ebb.
    But then again life has a lot of twists and turns and you’d never know how things could turn out.

  3. WJ – I think your pessimism in that article pretty much sums up the mood in the county right now. We’re all trying to be positive, but we have nothing really to base it on. I really can’t think of anything to say to back up an opinion that we’ll strom through the qualifiers on the way to glory in Croke Park.

    I watched the Kerry-Cork game today. We’re light years behind them in my opinion.
    Whoever loses that replay will quite rightly think it’s not the end of the road for them, they’ll be confident they can make progress through the qualifiers. But can we say the same??
    Cork or Kerry will think that bacause even thought they lost, they lost to one of the top 2 or 3 counties in the country. We don’t have that to fall back on. The manner of our defeat is the real problem for me.
    But sure what can we do? We do as we always do. We’ll keep supporting them until we’re gone. It could be in 3 weeks, it could be in 2 months, who knows.
    But we all know anything but a storming run in the qualifiers should only mean one thing for our management, and maybe a few players as well. But that’s for another day. Until then, we just keep on trying to ‘keep the faith’.

  4. While I wish Sligo well etc etc, we have really lowered ourselves. We could, by getting a very lucky draw get into the quarters, but it will not disguise the fact that this particular group of players is further away from an All Ireland than ever.

    I hope those who were happy to see the back of Mickey Moran can see the “progress” we have made since 2006.

  5. Just trying to be objective here to the last post, what would m&m done to improve this team?

    Without Ciaran Mac in 06 we would of not got as far as we did imo.

    Johnno cannot take responsibility for the personality of some our players.

    Some of our players are genuine wimps, very afraid, what you could blame jom for is not dropping a few of them but you will never please everyone in the county. For example i would have no problem if Conor mort was dropped but half the county would disagree with me, i believe he is an ass and his attitude does more harm than good for the team.

    I was trying to keep myself upbeat about yesterdays defeat untill i heard Joe Brolly and Flynn on radio one describe Mayo football as a project that is now dead, it made me think is the end of the road a period that started in 89 has no ended in 2010, are we going to go back to like it was in 70s and early eighties?

  6. JOM is right on one count at least -ya are better off in the qualifiers now than after a provincial final loss. There are some big teams in the qualifiers but they were all beaten as well so the massive thing for JOM and the lads is to get ahead of the other counties in dealing with this loss psychologically, getting it out of the system, and it’s full steam ahead on the chicken & chips circuit. A big game every week is what most club footballers would kill for at this time of year, and every county in it is in the same boat, so it’s just a matter of resting and keeping the head fresh and enthusiasm high. Stomaching Saturday eve might be the biggest task though.

  7. Joe Brolly is always particularly bitter about us, but theres nothing we can do about that until the day we prove him wrong and win one. Mind you he’s not likely to be still involved then with RTE and we’ll be watching punditry via holograph. God knows some of us might be dead.
    Perhaps I’m ridiculously optimistic but I think we have the players – we just need the right coach. Mayo players have to be more afraid of the fella on the sideline than they are of losing to get the most out of themselves, I think thats why John Maughan was successful. He had his faults but the players at the time would go through walls. Not suggesting he come back but we need that kind of dictatorship on the sideline I think for our players to prosper. They dont respond well to the “we’re all in this together, lets pull for the team, we’re all equals” type of management style.

  8. The only way we can hope for better is that we have 3 weeks to prepare and hopefully a bunch of players that are better to come back.

    As somebody said to me this was like an FBD team that played on Saturday. How would people react to this team:

    Clarke

    Howley Cafferky Higgins

    Barrett Vaughan McLouhglin

    Barry Moran Seamus O’Shea

    Andy Moran Dillon Kilcoyne

    Mortimer Freeman Ronaldson

    I think it is considerably better and would have been more confident seeing that last week. 6 personnel changes there

  9. I agree with east cork exile the personnel are definitely there in the county for us to make a very good account of ourselves every year and to challenge for the connacht title and at the quarterfinal stage too. A manager can transform a team as we all know, we need such a character now.. badly…

    And as for Conor Mort where else in the hell are our scores supposed to come from if not from him ? How many of our other 7 opposition half players contributed on Saturday , and on the league final day? and in Croke Park against Meath ? a few fellas need to stand up and take his place before we put this “Ass” ( bad choice of words imo Sean…) out to grass…

  10. All-Ireland Qualifiers
    The qualifiers offer teams defeated in the provincial championships a second chance to win the All-Ireland. The 16 teams which fail to reach a provincial semi-final will take part in Round One of the qualifiers (New York do not compete). The 16 teams are:

    Derry
    Carlow
    Tipperary
    Clare
    Offaly
    Longford
    Antrim
    Donegal
    London
    Mayo
    Kildare
    Armagh
    Wicklow
    Cavan or Fermanagh
    Meath or Laois
    Dublin or Wexford

  11. And the draw will take place on Sunday!

    I 100% agree with O’Mahony saying that it’s better to lose now than the Connaught final. As InnocentbyStander said, we will be able to get this defeat out of our system, and the team will be psychologically stronger than a losing provincial finalist if they get a good run in the qualifiers.

  12. Sure the team are not due to meet again until next Tuesday, a full week and a half after that shambles. That’s hardly great use of the 3 weeks off (to regroup).

    By the sounds of it they have no interest in regrouping. They are completely disjointed bunch. The whole set-up is rotten.

  13. Prendes, where did you hear that?

    The players do have their own exercise routine that they have to stick to. It’s vital though that they train together.

  14. From the man himself, JOM. This is what he said on midwest after the game.

    I don’t think individual exercise regimes are going to help our chances much.

  15. jaysis that doesnt bode well , a week sitting around moping , would it not be better to get back and leather sh1te out of one another in training and get the mind ready for the next game ? are there club games this sunday?

  16. Tuesday week is when they will train again, there is a full round of senior championship in Mayo this weekend. C/bar v Shrule, Aghamore vMoy Davvits, Westport v Breaffy, Ballagh v Ballinrobe, Crossmolina v Ballintubber, Garymore v Claremorris,Knockmore v Ballina.

  17. Good that there is no training for a week,
    It is their heads that need sorting not their bodies.
    Time for JOM to cull some from panel.
    AOS looks unfit —- probably the result of first yearaway from home.
    Mc garrity & Cunniffe will have benifitted from match time.
    Varleys performance shows the gulf between league & championship.
    Give me 15 lads with balls rather then some of the premia donnas we call our team.
    If the team shows guts & goes for every 50 50 ballwe could not complain
    Lets see them play like my adopted couny–Meath-taking & giving heavy tackles as a matter of course & playing to the final whistle.

  18. Utter nonsense, you don’t get things done by leaving them undone for a week and a half. That’s the type of attitude that has us in the position we’re in.

    This “sure it will be alright on the night” stuff is just not good enough.

  19. I think this bears an uncanny resemblance to end of Eddie O’Sullivan’s reign with the Irish Rugby Team. The Irish Rugby team should have peaked at the 2007 World Cup but they completly flopped. Eddie went in 2008 and with pretty much the exact same WC Team, Declan Kidney got a grand slam from them. They were completly rejuvinated under a new man.
    I think that is the way it is now with Mayo. The guys are just not doing it for JOM and won’t. We have to be a better team that showed up against Meath, Cork in the league final, and Sligo.
    Do we have a Declan Kidney lying in wait?

  20. some of those lads are gone on the beer. no doubt about that, and why wouldn’t they ? spending all winter training and then 2 biggest games of year come along and they are both disastorous.
    Only saving grace is they have 2 weeks to recover and not 1. Maybe they will all have their fill by Thursday and will have got over the hangover by next week to do some light training and maybe a little thinking.

  21. are we talking about redemption again lads??? That word has been used once so often under mahony and never acted out. Meeting up tuesday week is a bit rich too. Training sessions wont resolve much but surely some sort of clear the air session would help. There are obviously problems in the camp. SLigo would not have beaten us if things were right in our own heads. The players that were beaten on saturday have consistently beaten the same sligo players at evey level. Are our players not willing to confront mahony?? Maybe we dont have the senior players to stand up to him and call out what they think the problems are??

  22. totally agree with facetheall, we need a new ”
    kidney”
    what sean burke is raving about dropping conor mortimer is just stupid, who wyd you put in?

    anyways saying all that, all the lads need is a competitve win and its amazing what that wud to 4 a team, i can see us reaching croke park if we get luck on the way and mayo will be a differebt team

  23. well ted, our senior players, using that phrase in terms of those who have been around the longest certainly dont strike me as leaders, Ronan Mc, the morts – Alan Dillon mabye, Billie P has been in and out so while hes senior in age and appearance may not feel he has the right to speak up.

    Anyway, reckon its time to start moving on, whatevers wrong probably wont be sorted this year. What does Johnno have left, a season after this? If we go on a bit of a run I reckon he’ll stick it out- anyway thats for another day.
    Lets move on to the qualifiers, looking at the list there sad to say that there are only about 6 teams outta that list I would be confident of beating – Carlow, Tipp, Clare, Longford, London, Fermanagh – most of the rest it would be a toss up and some I reckon based off our last 2 championship performances we would get blown out. Problem is if we get one of those 6 we learn nothing but a championship win is a win so who knows, we’ll grasp at straws and hope for a momentum inducing win – but us getting to the quarters from where we are now would be a recovery of miraculous proportions. And feck it, I dont want to be Mr negative but if that miracle happened which of us would head to Croker for that with ANY confidence whatsoever? Thats for another day I suppose.
    Congrats to Belmullet on winning the Comortas today, Chris B and BJ played well. Conroys and Teach John Joe will be open all night I reckon

  24. looking at the list i hope we get one of the following Derry,Donegal,Kildare or Armagh its time for Mayo to shit or get of the Pot.

  25. Poor old Conor Mort. He seems to be the first person to get criticised every game. Not a word about how poor T Mort, SOS and Varley were. Let’s all pick on C Mort again. He was poor at the end but was way ahead of the three I mentioned and he had a very good league final. You gotta laugh every time you see the same old comments.

  26. If you were planing to start from the pit-lane as it were, here’s how you’d go about it. Schedule as many challenge matches as you can,train the nackers off them between games, always using a different squad, pick a team that hasn’t played together before, wait 60 Min’s into your first championship game before making any tactical changes 12 Min’s later hey presto your in the back door of the championship. Well done johno.

  27. Woah, i am not saying Conor Mort is our worst player, i used him as an example for bad attitude, maybe i worded it wrong and was a bit strong to say to drop him but i know his attitude is wrong, i see it as problem. If he just got on with his game and concentrated on what he is there to do, he would be 40% better.

    Question: Could you ever imagine a Kerry player prancing round the pitch after scoring a goal with his top over his head revealing some daft writing on his t-shirt?

    Answer: Could you f..k.

    Why because they are mens men, not little boys that go on like pansies, running to press 2 years ago making an ejit of himself and Mayo,talking up backdoor no use to Mayo.

    Do you honestly believe these things don’t have an effect on a team and other counties mocking our cowardice at such antics doesn’t have an effect?

    I could go on about other incidents but i don’t want to be seen to be telling tales. His personality has a negative effect on his true footballing ability, that is a compliment as well as been critical.

  28. First of all I would like to say,wj excellent post on saturday evening/night.It’s always hard to take a defeat like that but when you have somewhere to come to get a real summary of how it happened it makes it a bit easier.It would have been easy to go to town on them but i’m glad you showed what this blog is all about, proud to be a reader wj. We knew that trev,tom parsons(I especially liked the point in the second half where he decided to look at his legs rather than his opponent), ronan,varley were not up to either due to injury or just not beng up to it in endas case.Really was it fair to throw tom cunniffe in after a couple of friendlies? Ronan after such little game time in the last few months, a centre forward line that we all knew that were never going to do the business, peader aswell.Our defenders don’t seem to like to be within 10 metres of their marker.It has to come from johnno.It’s nobodies elses fault. Even with that result,we are a hell of alot better than that.Maybe its time for johnno to step down.Still love mayo gaa

  29. Sean Burke, your comments on C Mort arent fair. I believe hes a different person this season to be fair to him. Anything I’ve seen of him he appears to have knuckled down – he DID miss some easy scores on Saturday but he wasnt alone there.

  30. In Morts defence, At lease he had the balls to try for a score or two. The majority of lads put the breaks on even with an open path in front of them and looked to lay it off. No one seemed to want to take athority! Watched the game again last night. We lost an awful lot of ball through McGarrity. Midfield is a massive problem. If you dont win at least 50% of posession in the middle, your ruined!
    After the last day, every position is up for grabs on that pitch (Minus Andy Moran) who worked like a dog. This week off might do us the world of good. I think if we can get a tough draw in qualifers its what we need.

  31. JOM has lost the plot. Can’t see the obvious. Parsons left on in league final and Sligo game far too long. Same for Trev. Walsh makes one tactical move and wins the game. JOM made none. Can’t see a future with JOM.

  32. Sean I am with you on your comment about the backdoor that he made but that was 2 years ago now…

    But i have defended him about the t-shirt and here i will again.
    he obviously thought it up as a bit of craic with his mates, he knew he wouldnt start but wore it anyway knowing he would surely be introduced, he had the balls to actually believe that he would score a goall and get to show the t-shirt off..

    thats the kind of fella you need on a team , balls and confidence , Kerry have loads of them.. We need more !!!

    McH , jaysis that is a damning indictment…

    Ok i am now back in championship mode again. roll on the qualifiers , a nice easy team first please , we will face hard assignments at some stage anyway….

  33. ye are right same auld s***e things go bad so c mortimer is the scapegoat. he was along with freeman and andy moran the only outfield player to put in ANY kind of performance. hit a couple of bad wides but also hit some good scores and at least had the balls to take shots on instead of hesitating and waiting for someone to pass off to like most others!!!!
    regarding the overall performance i am probably more disappointed with it than any for a long time and thats saying something.
    this season held suck prominse but the management going into first meaningful game did not know their best team. that is worrying.
    also worrying is the fact the sub brought on was a man only back on panel 3 weeks. what kind of message does that send to likes of AOS and Ronaldson?
    i know AOS has looked of the pace but he was surely worth a go at CHF ahead of Padden!
    To win anything the spine of the team must be strong and apart from Clarke and Freeman it was not which again is a major worry.
    overall i am very disappointed with the way things are going it feels a bit rudderless and i feel there is something not right in the camp.
    however, next game team and management must be given full support to help drive them forward.
    it will be interesting to see how many “fans” turn up …… now is the time to show out true colurs
    Maigh Eo Abu

  34. I always try to be positive, but at the moment it is not easy. I have lost count of the years that I have been following Mayo, having been immersed from the day I was born, in the belief that Mayo football is something special. It goes right to my soul and it hurts when year after year we seem to be moving backwards. Throughout the dark days of the 70’s, when without a single senior Connaught title to our name, we looked to our minors and U21s to give us hope for the future. In the 80’s we finally reached a Senior All-Ireland and we began to hope that a new dawn was on the way. But 3 short years later, we were disgraced (there is no other word for it!) in an All Ireland Semi Final and a soft underbelly was exposed that we have never managed to fully correct ever since.

    But we were within a bounce of a ball of it in ’96 I hear you say – and you are right to say that. But therein lies the problem, we got within a bounce of a ball of it – but no closer. In ’97, we foolishly believed that beating Kerry the year before would be enough to put them in their place again. It wasn’t to be. In ’99, we had Cork beaten after 20 minutes in the semi final only to fall asleep and let them back to claim the day. The brightness of a League title in 2001 was dulled when we thought we only had to show up in Hyde Park to claim the Connaught Final. The Rossies exposed our foolishness that day. We roared back onto the scene in 2004, stuttering slightly in the semi final having earlier confidently taken care of Galway and Tyrone, before collapsing in the Final. A similar story followed in 2006, winning a magnificent game against the Dubs only to fall on our holes again in the Final. And then there is the Johnno 2 era – 4 years, one Connaught title and a series of collapses that has shown the soft underbelly to be getting even softer.

    In footballing terms, we are now a laughing stock. The RTE pundits, constantly looking for another humourous soundbite, love to see us coming. The likes of Spillane, Brolly and O’Rourke look like they have their lines pre-prepared and they love to deliver them to maximum effect. And we, who have long followed our county, have to sit and take it, YEAR-ON-FUCKING-YEAR! And then there is the pity. I have had people from Division 3 and Division 4 counties coming up to me today saying that we could have won it! As if I needed that! I’d say that these same counties would be rubbing their hands with glee if they drew us in the qualifiers.

    Let’s be clear. I am not looking for perfection. But after more than a half of a century of this life, I would like to end one year – JUST ONE – with a feeling that we could stand tall and say to the rest of the footballing world that our county is a proud one, our county does not give up, our county will give every last bit of effort it has to reach its potential, our county deserves respect.

    I really don’t mind at what stage we finish up this year, but surely it’s not too much to ask to put a Mayo team on the field with these thoughts ringing in their ears. And surely it’s not too much to say that we just don’t want to face into another long winter knowing that we could have done better.

    Let us draw on the words of James Larkin:
    “We are beaten, we will make no bones about it; but we are not too badly beaten still to fight.”

    Come on Lads, give us something to be proud of.

    Keep The Faith!

  35. Excellently and eloquently put, FourGoal. You’re absolutely right – we’re not looking for miracles, all we want is that the team plays to its potential. As it is, we’re punching way below our weight and, in truth,we have been in virtually every match that has counted in the Johnno II era.

  36. Can we get “four goal McGee” into the dressing room before the next match to do the pep talk. They might come out looking like they want to win it.

  37. Can I make a suggestion to mayo.mick. Perhaps if , as he describes them, no “fans” bothered turning up it might give those overated proma donnas a kick in the arse. Fans, even the ones with inverted commas whatever that is meant to signify owe nothing to this pile of dribble. Its called choice, some will turn up, some wont, I saw so called die hard Mayos who would roast what they termed “fans” slink out of Croke Park in 2004/06/and in the league final v Cork. Indeed we reached a new low in that match, the Coprk fans followed them out as well. Its Mayo the teams job to satisfy the fans, not the other way round.

  38. Well said FourGoal – nice to see some Mayo passion on this blog if nowhere else…

  39. I’ve been reaqding your post there Fourgoal and I have a question for you on it.
    You ask in the second last line
    “Come on Lads, give us something to be proud of. ”
    Exactly who are you addressing this to if you don’t mind me asking ??

    Reason I say this is becasue if it is the players then it’s unfair.The players on the pitch are the players that are picked by the manager. The manager is selected by the County Board.

    If you were still played football you could be asked and selected as a player to represent your county. I doubt from your post that you would turn it down (even maybe on the basis of your age).
    This is the same case for me and probably for a lot on this Blog. And the fact is that this is also the same for all of those players out there on the pitch. No one goes on to the pitch to play a poor game.

    So the question is what needs to change in order to give us something to be proud of ? Keeping the faith is all good and well and in fairness we all will. But as you have pointed out history has shown us to flounder again and again.

    It’s strange that no one mentioned the brilliant score we got in the second half against Sligo. Ball started off with K. Higgins and involved Kevin Mac over to Andy before making its way directly (and not through the clouds) into Mr Freeman who duly pointed it over the bar.

    Reason I mention this is because of the style of score it was. I was short fast kick passes all the way. One touch football. Exceptional score and v. similar to What Kerry did to Cork today. Letting the ball do the work.

    As I say something has to change to keep the faith. Maybe you can shed a bit more light here.

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