It’s Monday and while this morning I felt like I was suffering a hangover without the joy of having got shitfaced last night, it’s another day with life and work and stuff to face. And the papers. Ho hum, let’s get this over with as quickly and painlessly as possible, then.
Colm Gannon in the Mayo Advertiser is always the best place to start as he’s always the one to get his spake in first, which he duly did last night. The picture of the lads standing round watching the cup presentation after the game captures the post-match feeling from our perspective more or less perfectly.
The same paper has some post-match quotes from Johnno (most of which are repeated in the nationals) so it’s worth dealing with them now, I think. Some of what Johnno says makes sense, like this:
Winning is linked to positivity, it’s not comfortable to be positive now, but we have to be we don’t have a choice. The public at large do have a choice, but we don’t have a choice. I’m long enough in the game to know that is the challenge facing everybody in the management and everybody on the team. We’re back in training Thursday night and we have to pick a championship panel in the next few days and take it from there and that’s what we do.
I think that’s a fair point. Those of us on the sidelines, myself included, can give out like shite but we’re still expecting them to get back up on the saddle and get ready for the next hurdle facing them. As supporters, we can decide that the lads are no longer worth following and find something more productive to fill our time but, while he’s in the job, Johnno has to keep plugging away doing what he can to bring the team on and the players who get picked for the championship panel have to do the same.
In what was, I gather, a fairly tetchy session with the Fourth Estate, Johnno answered the inevitable Croker Choker questions with this reply:
We will put our hands up and the lads will put their hands up (for the peformance in this game), but the lads won’t put their hands up for the last 40 or 50 years of performances here.
Again, that’s fair enough but only up to a point. No true Mayo supporter really gives a shite about all those past results – once they’re gone, they’re set in stone and there’s nothing we can do about them. Nobody is blaming Johnno and the current team for defeats such as the 1993 All-Ireland semi-final, the 1978 NFL final or whatever other Croke Park loss you want to mention. But supporters do have genuine concerns about the fact that in August last year and again yesterday, Johnno’s own team flopped badly at HQ. From what he says, he and the team are willing to put their hands up for this and that’s good but, after yesterday’s latest humiliation, this can’t be just empty words. Who is included in and, more importantly, who is excluded from the starting fifteen for the Sligo match has to be part of this. Otherwise, it’s just empty rhetoric.
If it’s empty rhetoric you want, then try this quote where Johnno gives his perspective on how the game went:
The reflection I’d have on it, is the first ten minutes we had four or five chances and didn’t score when they did they scored. We had it back to two points immediately after half time, they pulled away again and the goal effectively finished it. We’d be quite pleased with the league but we’d be desperately disappointed with today and today’s performance, that’s the reality of it.
Well, the reflection I’d have on it was that we needed to start hauling players off before half-time and that significant alterations needed to be made at the break to try to rectify the situation. A further reflection would be that, not for the first time, though, Johnno stood twiddling his thumbs on the sideline while the match was running away from us, unwilling to or incapable of making the kind of sweeping changes that needed to be made. A final reflection would be that we were dead and buried long before Goulding’s goal – we were seven points down before that finishing blow and had already thrown in the towel.
Maybe it’s time to get back to the papers. Mike Finnerty has a good report in the Mayo News, which is garlanded with a photo of a very crestfallen-looking Ger Cafferkey (who, in fairness, did alright yesterday). The nationals are all much of a muchness – here are the reports from the Irish Times, the Independent and the Examiner. All three have plenty of quotes and so forth as well but, to be honest, nothing that’s worth linking to. There are only so many ways to say we were shite, I guess.
For the record, here’s what RTÉ and Hogan Stand had to say about the game. That RTÉ report comes with links to some video coverage from their godawful Sunday Sport programme, which I haven’t yet had the heart to watch. I’ll leave the last word, though, to my blogger colleague, the ever eloquent Spailpín, who, as usual, squarely nails the essential points about yesterday’s humbling defeat.