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.