I listened to that radio programme this morning about our footballing travails (appropriately enough, with a bit of a bleary head on me) and, needless to say, I thought it was quite interesting, sort of like an audio version of The House of Pain. For anyone who missed it (and with my thanks to Acaill for tipping me off about this), the link to the programme on the RTE website is here, the link to the podcast is here and the link to the download of the programme is here. Now you’re no excuse but to listen to it.
A few things struck me about the programme. The first was that I thought it was being aired at the wrong time of the year: wistful thoughts about what-might-have-been are grand in the middle of winter but, at this time of year, most Mayo supporters (your humble correspondent among them) are surely more focused on dreaming idle thoughts about our prospects over the summer that still lies ahead than they are on crying into their beer about the ones that got away in the past. There’ll be plenty of time for that on those empty, dark nights before Christmas but, right now, I’m thinking more about what divilment the Twin Towers are going to get up to on July 19th next.
The second thing is that we really do need to guard against giving some kind of mythical status to our repeated failure to make it over the line on All-Ireland final day. None out of five is a seriously bad rate of return, for sure, but we didn’t lose them all due to the fact that they all form part of some kind of over-arching misery drama in which we’ve been fated to play the leading part. We could, and should, have won two of them but we didn’t and that’s all there’s to it.
As a result, I don’t hold with this priest’s curse bullshit and I don’t see the point of having this stuff repeated over the airwaves either. It wasn’t a priest’s curse that did for us in 1996: no, that one was all down to that prick Pat McEneaney. They used to go on with stuff like this about Clare too until Anthony Daly and the rest of that Golden Generation took matters into their own hands in 1995 and buried the Biddy Earley myth forever. We lost all those finals over the past twenty years for a variety of reasons but a funeral in Foxford back in 1951 sure had nothing to do with it.
Finally, I was rather impressed with Johnno’s eloquence throughout the programme. The personality that came across was that of a man who cares deeply about football in the county and who retains within him a fierce ambition to get us to the promised land. For me at least, the way Johnno spoke on this morning’s programme rather undid all his efforts over the past two years to dampen our expectations about our prospects of achieving anything in the short-term. Last Saturday’s performance, allied to what I’m hearing anecdotally about the mood within the squad this year, would indicate that our stock is rising and that, with a fired-up Johnno at the helm, an interesting summer’s football lies ahead for us. Will it be enough to provide an unlikely happy ending to The Script of Hurt? We shall see.