The end or the beginning – now is the time to decide

For some further reflections on Sunday’s result, I’m delighted to welcome back into the guest slot Stateside Dean who argues that we must use the experience from this year’s loss to drive us onto greater things in 2013.

Anyone who has played Gaelic football, hurling, or any sport for that matter, and has experienced a championship loss, no matter the level of competition, will know the hollowness that comes with the abruptness of defeat. However, I cannot imagine a bigger body blow than losing on the biggest stage of all, to a team Mayo could have beaten but for an awful opening ten minutes.

In the wake of this most disappointing end to another run at Sam, I can’t help but believe the lads will gain from the experience.  They will never forget the gutted feeling when that final whistle blew and ended their dream. Nor should they.  But it’s all about how they react to this defeat that will be a true reflection of their character. Lesser men whither and are never heard from again.  Others rise to the challenge and come back with a greater resolve.  Now is the time for our lads to decide which path to travel.

When the dust settles and they think back on what might have been, replay the final game and season in their minds, may they gain strength from their successes and knowledge from their failures.  May their pain drive them to lift a few extra pounds over the winter, to run a few extra miles when the lungs burn for oxygen.  May they store the agony of defeat in the back of their minds and never let that feeling overtake them again.

A few months ago, if you had asked any of the panel or any of the supporters, I’m sure they would have said reaching the All-Ireland final would be a tremendous accomplishment.  And make no mistake, it was the culmination of a fantastic year.  But somehow, just getting to Croke Park in late September is now not enough.

It has been said many times throughout history that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Perhaps more than for any other county, these words ring true for Mayo football.  My God, we must be really strong right about now.  May a championship win in 2013 come from that strength.

19 thoughts on “The end or the beginning – now is the time to decide

  1. A nice piece Stateside Dean, gently tiptoeing around the edges without landing a blow, and at the same time, managing to share the hurt that so many Mayo people must be feeling this week. Last Sunday we were but one game away from capturing Sam, it’s now a long road back. Where we go from here is now down to our Manager, Will he have the drive and commitment to take us that extra mile ? only time will tell !!

  2. I could be reading into this way too much and there is not much point at this stage to dwell on it or torture ourselves anymore but what do people think about Joe Brollys article re: Mayo’s cynical fouling having some effect on the players in the first ten minutes. Do you think it was possible in the opening minutes that they were afraid to throw themselves into Donegal’s forward line apprehending and fearing that Maurice Deegan would be hyper aware of it as a result of Brolly’s media meddling and so not wishing to be carded early. I say this because I feel against Dublin Mayo were stuck into their forward line from the start. I personally noticed that it looked like they were holding back in those first ten minutes and after the two goals they threw caution to the wind and started to do everything in their power to clamp down on the Donegal forwards. I know Horan would have done everything to shelter them from the media on the Friday before but this talk was everywhere and we all know including the players that although referees are “professionally” unbiased, they are also human and this sort of rule breaking talk would effect them!

  3. From a meath poster on hoganstand

    mayo are just too weak mentally. they’re always a bit of a soft touch compared to the other big teams around the country. constantly collapse when it matters most. donegal had another few gears in them if needed, but mayo never looked like they would ever close that gap completely. mayo just have this mental block on all-ireland final day that they cant get over and it seemed to start when they couldnt put meath away after playing them off the field for 70 mintes in 96. cant see them winning it anytime soon either

    Ouch !!!

  4. I think it was Joe Kernan that said that the only time you can talk about winning the all Ireland is when you are in the final. I agree. We lost. Get over it. Move on. Our next priority is to do well in the League and to try to win the Connacht Championship. Forget the analysis of the AIF. Club men concentrate on getting all club teams better from U8s up. Adopt modern coaching methods and encourage all aspects of the game from high fielding, good physical defending and attacking flair especially full forward play. The skill of taking the back in and then bursting out for the low pass still works. The county and divisional boards also need to sharpen up. More expert coaching is needed at club and school level. I cant say this nicely but some of the people given the job of coaching are living in the dark ages with their attitude and the quality of the drills. We have to adopt a more professional approach with analysis and measurement of the skills being coached. We also need to coach ‘cuteness’. Had the pleasure of meeting Frank Morris from Corofin recently. His coach the coaches sessions were excellent. Having huge respect for what they are doing I still feel the county board needs to up their game and the clubs need to back them with the provision of quality people and money if the need arises. Liam Horan’s plan needs to be re-looked at and certain measures therein need to be adopted.

  5. any chance James can get a hold of Pearse Hanley’s training/diet programme? 🙂 wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world would it to have our fellas follow it?

  6. Facetheball – re your Meath poster – If there is anything worse than a sore winner – it is a sore winner from 16 years ago!!!! Nothing to talk about in Meath football these days so he thought he would pull out some Mayo bashing outdated ráiméas! mental blocks?! Meath how are ya!

  7. He has point though. We are and will continue to be seen as a soft touch until we start winning some of these
    All Irelands that we are getting to at all grades. Every county seems to beat us in All Ireland finals.
    Cork in 85 in the minors and 2006 in the U-21s is the only county we have defeated in recent memory.

  8. Don’t think we should forget to analyse the all Ireland. Games like these do not come around every corner. Week is nearly over now and it’s really time to do a little hard analysis of it.

  9. Excellent post sinabhfuil, people are also calling for unearthing better players, I’d prefer to unearth better coaches and coaching.

    Also, no one gives a b***ix what Joe Brolly or hoganstand naysayers have to say, they’ve had their say for too long now.

  10. I agree with you Mayo Fan. I also thought our defenders were holding back. Mind you, when Cillian grabbed the ball from a rebound off the crossbar, Donegal had no compunction in dragging him down in front of goal. Not a murmur from the pundits about cynical play!

  11. While hard analysis is welcomed, I respectfully leave that for those closer to the squad. My editorial was written on Monday morning when emotions were still running high, and is a bit of pep talk, finding strength from defeat sort of thing. 🙂

  12. Regardless of what Brolly, meath posters or any other of our critics say ,this team are no ‘soft touches’. So we didn’t win the AI or ‘game 5, this year, neither did we win it in all attempts since 51 but what we did do is get to compete in a few, in fact we got to the big day many more times than most counties in the country.
    This set of players and their management team got us to within 4 points of what most regard as ‘the best team in the country’ .Yes we didn’t perform good enough on the day for long enough but we did make the eventual winners work damn hard for their win and but for a few ‘ifs’ we could have triumphed.
    We have to get rid of this defeatist attitude in Mayo, hail our achievements and believe in greater ones to come.
    At McHale Park on Monday last about 1000 fans turned out in horrible weather to greet Their team, the Mayo team of 2012 who had given them many reasons to be proud and thankful over the last 12 months and anyone who was there will know that JH, AM,BM,DC and all the other lads there have no intention of becoming ‘defeatist, shrinking violets’………..so let us not either.
    The thoughts in my mind at the time were ‘We haven’t Sam……….We have something much greater and precious we have MAYO’ ……………

  13. I have watched the game a few times since, there really was nothing much between the sides from play, Mayo had good spells and tackled hard, they moved the ball very well and took some good scores. If I was James Horan I would sit tight and get certain lads into serious weight training for the winter months(starting next week). Andy Moran will return and gives the team a focal point up front. His absence was the difference on sunday. Mayo are lucky to have the quality they have, though one or two lads are not able for the intensity needed, not for 70 minutes anyway and they looked fatigued before halftime, unable to chase etc. There was one or two mismatches (kevin keane was not one of them, you would need 2 players on murphy close to goal no matter who was marking him) that were apparent early, players not able to exert any influence on the game, seamas o se would have been better in at chf, his strenght alone would have given donegal something to think about and he tackles strongly too.
    Alan Dillon looked to find it hard going and though he is one of my favourites he was not involved for some reason and should have been pulled out early.
    I applaud all the MAYO panel, Horan and Co and really believe they will strike gold shortly if they keep up the efforts and take the positive from 2012.

  14. Just looking at the stat’s in W P on forwards scores in the championship from play
    A Dillon 0-12 minutes 350
    K Mc 1-08 341
    M Conroy 2-04 232
    A Moran 2-02 184
    E Varley 0-4 165
    J Doherty 1-1 292
    A Freeman 1-0 128
    C O Connor 0-2 350
    C Mort 0-1 17

    And just a few others

    S O Shea 0-1 8
    J Gibbons 0-1 26
    R Feeney 0-2 96
    L Keegan 0-4 H/B 295

    Just wondering what this tells us,surely we need to blood a few lads in the league.
    Lads like Danny Kirby a big man, Conor o Shea,Cathal Carolan and others.
    They may not be ready next year,but maybe one or two will.It just might be enough.
    I’m sure J H will find them,if they are there.

  15. @sinabhuil “Forget the analysis of the AIF”
    Surely you can’t be serious? If this team is to move ahead and improve for next years c’ship, one of the first things they must do is look back at this game and others. A couple of days prior to the match, musing on the strategy we must employ to win, I wrote that one of the things we will surely guard against at al costs would the “Donaghy” play from the 2006 final, because our management team would have studied that and had a plan to deal with it; guard against it at all costs. The game had only just stated, and it seemed we hadn’t, but Donegal had. After studying the game again, initially I was critical of the Murphy/Keane mismatch, however upon reflection, this was only part of it. Once the ball was floated in there for Murphy, it was no contest. The point is, Lacey should NEVER have been given that much time and space to march up the field, spot the isolated Murphy/keane mismatch and deliver such a pin point accurate pass. Dare I say it but he should have been laid out at his own 45! He wasn’t even challenged! While Keane never had a chance, I’m not sure theres a FB in the country who could have stopped Murphy once that missile was launched by Lacey. There is much to be learned in defeat. Just look at Donegal.
    Unless our management team, the back room staff and players look back and analysize this loss in painstaking detail, as much as they may not want to, we’ll learn nothing, win nothing and continue to be seen as naive.

  16. I think that Mayo should seek to dominate football. We have a huge number of people involved in the game, great club teams and a massive number of helpers. We seem to have a manic focus on winning the AIF. Fair enough I would cry like an x factor hopeful if we did win but in order to achieve this aim we have to get the foundations right first. The level of coaching at club level is very poor. I believe that all managers from intermediate level up needs to have achieved a certain level or qualification before they can manage. I believe clubs should buy into a voluntary code whereby all teams at U8,10 and 12 need to have at least one coach that has more than the initial coaching qualifiaction. This could be linked to other benefits such as ticket allocations, coaches education courses, access to croke park and connacht board grants, etc.. What we have is a huge number of very well meaning volunteers. What we need is a clear concise programme developed by experienced and skilled person(s). I know certain indivuals that are responsible for coaching and they just do not have the drive or personality for the job. We need energetic and driven individuals and in my opinion these need to be paid. Look at what Charlie Lambert and the Mayo Sports Partnership are doing. It is a pleasure to deal with them. They are remunerated, motivated and effective. Please do not get me wrong I believe that everyone in the county and divisional boards have the welfare of Mayo football inbedded in their hearts. We just need to get structured and re-invigorated. We need to build a better foundation. We have a good start made and we have a huge opportunity to build something immense. Thats my opinion.

  17. Can somebody tell me if there is a site where people can donate a few euro to the cause?
    If not a site called ” mayo training fund” should be set up and managed by somebody chosen by the likes of James Horan or Nallen, somebody who would ensure the maney got to the right people.I live in new york and know a few others that would readily donate on a regular basis, there are plenty of Mayo people in NYC and the USA and around the world that have done well financially and have a graw for the home county and the pride our football team gives us.This could be a big help to push Mayo over the line and ensure future sucess.
    Any ideas?

  18. All fund raising must be under the auspices of Cairde Mhaigh Eo, don’t ya know! And sure they only want to clear debt. Forgive my cynicism. Was it in the agreement with Croke Park that they would spend max 500k on teams per year and anything extra would service the debt?

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