Ray’s reaction

Ray Dempsey has a few after-match comments in today’s Sunday Indo that are worth an airing here.  It’s no surprise to see that he paid fulsome tribute to his young charges following their emotionally charged extra-time defeat to Tyrone yesterday afternoon in Longford.  He made specific reference to the team’s winning mentality and expressed the opinion that, although defeat was ultimately to be their lot, they possess a different mindset compared to other Mayo teams that have also fallen at the final hurdle:

This isn’t like the past Mayo teams. These fellows showed character a long way ahead of what has been shown in the last few years.

I’d tend to agree with Ray there.  The last Mayo team (apart from the winning U21 side in 2006) to acquit themselves in the same positive manner were the 1996 seniors who, of course, (a) also finished an All-Ireland level and (b) had one Ray Dempsey in their ranks.  That may be no coincidence.

Ray went on to speak about the future potential of his minors, saying that:

These bunch of lads have worked hard on their own game. Now the real commitment for these lads towards Mayo football is that they don’t lose what they have learned in the environments they have played. Hopefully they will build on what they have learned. They put everything into the game. I knew they would, that’s the bottom line.  If you want to be a success at inter-county, you have to have players who are willing to go to the well and come back stronger every time.

This group of players have certainly shown enormous potential and hopefully a good number of them will now progress through the ranks to senior within the next few years.  Some of them, of course, will still be minor next year – including Aiden Walsh, who I’d have on the seniors next year just for his place-kicking skills (maybe he could coach the seniors instead) – so we could get another championship run to remember out of them then.

Ray is right to be proud of his team and Mayo supporters everywhere should equally be proud of what Ray has achieved with these lads.  Few of us would have predicted back in January that the man who would have the greatest influence on our footballing year would be Ray Dempsey but his record over the course of 2008 confirms this to be the case.  The minors’ run to the All-Ireland and their gutsy, never-say-die attitude over the two games has added significant lustre to an otherwise indifferent year of football and we have Ray Dempsey to thank for this.  It goes without saying that his achievements this year will make him a very strong candidate for manager of the seniors the next time this role becomes vacant.

7 thoughts on “Ray’s reaction

  1. well just another thought on the two games and I know in hindsight its easy to comment but looking back at the first match being a point up with seconds remaining we made the mistake of still playing open football, this was a time to close up shop and play possession football – the last time a mayo team did this brilliantly was the stephenites in their last all-ireland club success.

    Ultimately we lost posession by trying to kick pass out of defence the ball was turned over and they got their equalising point. If you looked at Tyrone the last day in the last few minutes after we got our goal they slowed things right down any injuries they had you could see the fellas staying on the ground to see the clock down, this is something I would like to see coming into our game and im not talking negativity we had played our football brilliantly on both days however if we had been a bit more ‘cute’ (you can see this instilled in kerry and tyrone) we would now be all-ireland minor champions.

    Its a hard lesson learned but i hope the management just learn from this – how to close out a game when your ahead, I think it would be invaluable to seeing the job through.

    your comments on the above as always appreciated.

  2. As a lot more people have alluded to here, it’s a case of another defeat but unlike the last few defeats in All-Ireland finals, there are so many positives to take out of the game.

    I too, think it was that extra game against Kerry that may have killed us as regards our extra time performance….a lot of the players seemed dead on their feet at the end there…but fair play to them they kept on trying which is something our Seniors could take a lesson on….

    We really have some great prospects in years to come…Young Walsh in full-forward alone has gave me great hope in the free-kick division…correct me if I’m wrong but did he send over a free from nearly the 40 yard mark in the first half? Young Mort would be still looking for the “quick free” if it was him taking it…

    I fear for O’Shea’s future in a Green and Red jersey…It could be more like a Brisbane Lions or Sydney Swans jersey he’ll be wearing..

    Sorry for the rant…..I was gutted for the lads on Saturday…they really have given their all this year and to come away with nothing must be awful for them…

  3. That’s true, Nathan – the last time I remember us doing this was the 2006 semi-final against Dublin. Alan Dillon went down injured then stuck his head up and looked around before collapsing again. Then Kevin O’Neill pulled on the ball when it was a free for Dublin and stuck it into Row Z. Paddy Russell could have added on more time but he didn’t and that bit of cuteness saw us home.

  4. You’re right about Walsh, Mayoman, he sent over a long-range one in the first half and this one in the second looks to be from about the same range (watch it in High Quality to see it properly). When you consider the last minute point in normal time, the late point at Croker (which, as you’ll see, is from almost 50 yards out) and that monstrous point in the replay against Kerry (that one was easily 50 yards out), it’s obvious that we’ve found our successor to Maurice Sheridan. I’m only half-joking when I say we should stick him straight into the seniors (even if he is eligible to play minor again next year!) – with that accuracy from that range, no team could afford to foul us within 50 yards of the posts.

  5. It was disappointing once again walking away empty handed from Pearse Park on Saturday last and much has been written in the meantime, most of it positive on the outcome. Once again, with the dust semi settled, I throw in my tuppence worth.

    The greatest part of the disappointment was not for Mayo football, but for the fine young men that once again showed us why we are so passionate about our football. They deserved a reward for what they have done. These young men carried the hopes of the county on their young shoulders. AND THEY DAMN NEAR PULLED IT OFF!!!

    It has been said that Mayo football in full flow is a beautiful sight. At its best it is totally positive, highly skilful and really honest. No messing around, no playing mind games, no feigning injury, no time wasting – just pure football. And yet, maybe it was this that lost it in the end, or should I say in Croke Park last Sunday week. If only the last attack had ended with the ball up in the stand, if one of the lads had gone down with “cramp”/”injury”/whatever. But that is not the Mayo way and in any case it is not what brought this team to the final. Maybe it’s a naivety on our behalf, but the positive way is the way we play it. We don’t like the rugby tackles, the belting off the ball, the taking the man out because he might do damage.

    Ray Dempsey and these lads have given us back our hope. Together they have salvaged more than the season. They have shown that when we play football as it should be played, there is no county – BAR NONE – that can do it better. They have given us a glimpse of the soul of Mayo football and it is in a healthy state. I have had a string of people who really know their football contact me this week, all expressing nothing but their admiration for these guys.

    Regrettably, time will dictate that some of the negativity that is needed to bring home the top prize will need to be deployed, but let’s hope that it is the minimum necessary.

    In the meantime….

    Keep the Faith!

  6. Four goal put it perfect in his homily. Its great to see positive blood flowing in Mayo veins once more. Please, please ,please Mr. O Mahoney spare us the dour face and pained expression this coming year, lets give it one good crack. We have the material…lets use it.

  7. I would be more interested in seeing how many players come from particular minor teams than the pyrrhic end result of final day glory itself. I’ve been at the last 4 minor finals and I have to say I think there are at least 4 candidates for county senior football on this mayo team- probably as many as I saw between Roscommon and Galway between them. So all is not lost- if these guys can keep putting in the lonely hours kicking balls over the bar, working on their weaker foot and not get carried away relative fame- and that is a big IF- there is the bones of a good team here.
    And I like the way Ray Dempsey conducts his business, he seems to show a bit more passion than his senior counterpart who looks and sounds as though this job has become a heavy burden to him.

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