Those well-informed lads on gaaboard.com are saying that the County Board decided the other night to give Johnno another two years – on top of the one to come, like – prowling the sideline in his bainisteoir’s bib. This story hasn’t yet been picked up by what the Yanks call the MSM but I suppose that’s because all the GAA journos have fucked off to Australia to watch the on-field boxing. Assuming that the story is accurate – and I’ve no reason to conclude otherwise as the lads on the board know their stuff and are well able to interpret the jungle drums – this development, while in one sense a bewilderingly unnecessary vote of confidence for an underachieving regime, shouldn’t really come as any surprise.
It could even be argued that there’s some logic to the decision as, with only one year left to his tenure, Johnno might otherwise be perceived (in particular by the players) as a lame duck. (Well, as the saying goes, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck …) Personally, I don’t think that argument holds water – Pat O’Shea was on a two-year deal with Kerry and there wasn’t any word about his position till after the All-Ireland and I think it’s generally the case that any discussion about a manager’s future plans only starts once his team is knocked out of the Championship. Instead, the contract extension handed out by the County Board has, as one of the lads on the board has already pointed out, more of a whiff of Eddie O’Sullivan and the IRFU about it.
In any event, I don’t think that this development alters things fundamentally for us next year. If we have a third year of abject failure under Johnno, I can’t see how he can credibly continue on into 2010, regardless of what his tenure is. I mean, the County Board couldn’t possibly stand over him if he presides over another year without a Connacht title and a tame exit in the qualifiers … or could they?