It is the job of the journalist in this modern age to report the facts dispassionately and as quickly as possible. The blogger operates under a different set of rules, however, being for the most part biased towards his own viewpoint and quite often delivering his output to an audience who share his views.
Leaving Croke Park on Sunday I remarked to a few people that it was worse to see Kiltane lose than it had been to see Mayo beaten on all those occasions. Now in hindsight I see that I was completely and utterly wrong about this. I contacted Willie Joe and apologised for being too gutted to pen the match report that evening and now I return to these pages with what I hope is a bit more perspective.
Like the blogger and the journalist Kiltane and Mayo are held to a completely different set of standards and that is as it should be. An Spailpín Fánach remarked a few months back that Mayo only know two things: Sam Maguire or pure misery. Kiltane’s trip to Croke Park was a journey into bonus territory after the primary objective of a return to senior football had been obtained. While the players (and I am gutted for them) will feel they left a Celtic cross behind them, for the supporters the chance to worship at the temple of headquarters was a once in a lifetime thing.
In one of the many football biographies I read as a youth I remember distinctly a passage where the footballer (I think it was Supermac – Newcastle’s Malcolm MacDonald) spoke about the most devastating losses being FA Cup semi-finals, where you don’t get the chance to go to Wembley and be part of the biggest day of the year. Mayo are beyond that now but for Kiltane last Sunday was magic regardless of the result.
This was a game Kiltane could have won, unfortunately a few vital frees were missed right at the point where Kiltane had reduced an eight-point deficit to just one point and Truagh Gaels were under intense pressure. Had Kiltane gone ahead we might have seen the match develop differently but as it was the Truagh management emptied their bench and the lads who entered the fray were as sure-shot as those who left. If Truagh’s haul of 2-21 was remarkable then even more so was the absence of wides – I cannot recall one in the second half and there were only two in the first.
Kiltane had its heroes however foremost of those being Mikey Sweeney and Ultan Corrigan. Both ran themselves into the ground and having been to Croke Park about fifty times Mikey Sweeney’s goal was as good as any I ever saw on our hallowed turf.
Later as Mikey was being doubled up on by his markers he started to come deep, in some cases to the full-back line to pick up the ball and he was instrumental in Kiltane’s fightback. Ultan gave his marker a terrible time and would be my own candidate for Man of the Match. Honourable mentions would also go to the evergreen Sean Carey and to the captain Pat Joe Gaughan who drove the team forward when things were at their toughest.
If I was to have a gripe about the tactics employed then I would say that Kiltane were guilty of trying too hard to work a goal when the partnership of Daniel McKenna and Mark Counihan for Truagh picked points all afternoon. Also the enforced substitution of Darragh Carey was Kiltane’s only recourse to the talent on their bench. Compare and contrast to the Monaghan team.
Truagh Gaels are worthy All-Ireland Intermediate champions and Kiltane worthy Connacht Champions. Both will leave their mark in their county’s senior scene in 2014. As is customary on these pages after an All-Ireland loss I will leave you again with the words of Teddy Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die”.
Roll on the year of football in 2014 that still lies ahead for both Mayo and Kiltane.