We would’ve got the Dubs

It really was all for the best that we didn’t nick the win against Tyrone yesterday – our reward would have been a date with de Dubs in a match that has now been shifted to the 16th so that the place can be packed to the gills with Jackeens. On yesterday’s performance, they’d have pasted us, driven on by a desire to extract maximum revenge for 2006. Instead, they get a different revenge mission: they should have beaten Tyrone at the same stage in 2005 and, but for an absolutely woeful refereeing call in the drawn game – which led to a penalty that Tyrone converted – they would have done so. Tyrone are likely to give the Dubs a better game than we’d have given them but I can’t see them doing enough to stop the Jacks.

Kerry are obviously on a roll too and Galway will be hard pressed to stop the three-in-a-row juggernaut. While Kerry are weak enough defensively, Galway have their own problems in the back six and Kerry have far more options in attack. We’re still the only Connacht champions since 2001 to make it past the All-Ireland quarter finals and I don’t expect this to change next weekend.

Elsewhere, Cork will poo all over Kildare (how on earth could a team as limited as Kildare make it this far? By pulling three easy draws in the qualfiers, that’s how) and I haven’t a clue what’ll happen between Wexford and Armagh. I wouldn’t rule out a shock win for the Yella Bellies in that one.

Back to our vale of tears, I see that Johnno is already dropping hints about his likely departure and his body language on The Sunday Game earlier on tonight was pretty clear – he has as much interest in staying on as next door’s cat. We shouldn’t stand in his way, I think – more on this anon.

22 thoughts on “We would’ve got the Dubs

  1. Willie Joe – the last two results have worked out perfectly. Beat Galway and we would be playing Kerry. Beat Tyrone and we were up against the Dubs. In both cases a big beating was likely. At least our heads are somewhat high.

    I know there are concerns about the management but I do not think another witch hunt is in our interest. Who would come in and do better?

  2. But that just shows how much our ambitions have fallen over the last two years, doesn’t it? The only thing that Johnno has succeeded in doing (apart from leveraging his position as manager to help him get a seat in the Dail) is lowering our expectations to the level they’re currently at.

    Can he turn things around next year? I don’t think so. I don’t think we should worry unduly about ending up with someone whose reputation isn’t as great as Johnno’s – it wouldn’t take anyone of exceptional talent to improve on the pitiful performance of the past two years.

    Neither would I say that calling into question Johnno’s position at this point – which he’s already done himself publicly – could be termed a witch hunt. Driving from office a decent man who in his first year had won Connacht for us and taken us to an All-Ireland, giving us in the process one of the greatest days in Croke Park we’ll ever experience as Mayo supporters – now that was a witch hunt. Questioning Johnno’s position after two abject years is simply a case of pointing out that the emperor has no clothes.

  3. It’s a bit like ‘deja vu all over again’, isn’t it? We have another bad result and think that getting rid of the manager is the only thing we can do to infuse hunger, enthusiasm, skill and teamwork into the players to finally bridge the gap since 1951. Much like the whole Ciarán Mac situation, I suppose it comes down to having a better man to replace the incumbent, and the question is who the county board have in line, should Johnno move on. I was appalled at the time about how Mickey Moran & John Morrison were treated in 2006, and still am – granted, the performance against Kerry took us to all sorts of depths, but the heart that both players and management showed against Dublin back then bears no resemblence to what we’ve seen recently. Even if, like in this match, we get the backs working fairly well (especially Jimmy, who was his usual solid self), there seems to be no coherent plan for the 15 men on the field and the panel as a whole. If Johnno is devoid of ideas, he’s probably best to go, but who would want to step into one of the toughest jobs in football?

    Has anyone got Peter Ford’s phone number?

  4. Samefull comments WJ, Johnno can only do so much, we were in winning positions against both Galway and Tyrone and poor shooting cost us on both occasions. Johnno can’t come on and score for us too. The man deserves to see out his three years- no question of that.

  5. It’s not just poor shooting in the last two games that has turned us into also-rans. We’ve been turned over twice by a moderate Galway team and the way the team has been prepared for the championship over the past two years has been little short of alarming, with a settled team played in the league and then the championship used for experimentation. His record speaks for itself (wins over only Cavan and Sligo) and, with the raw material he had, the least we could expect was that he’d be able to keep us up there as one of the top few teams in the country. Instead, we’ve gone backwards at an alarming rate and I can’t see Johnno turning it round next year. If anything, we’re likely to slip further behind the leading counties under the current stewardship. In any event, it was painfully clear from his demeanour on the Sunday Game last night that he doesn’t want to hang around, stressing the “pressure” he was put under to take the job. It’s definitely time for him to go, I think.

  6. Where’s Luke Dempsey? Or even Fougoal? The only time Johnno showed any real interest was in the league last year – before the election! He never found a real full forward and it was only in his last game that he found a full back (who has better positions to play in). Where were Ger Cafferkey, David Kilcullen and even James Kilcullen?

    The only player who was awake in the whole first half against Tyrone was Tom Parsons. Mort was doing nothing in the full forward line and Conor Gormley was first to the ball most of the time. Now the ref was dreadful. Gormley should’ve been sent off before the end of the first half and Howley gave away a free for a fair tackle that cost us the game, but Tyrone should’ve had a penalty. In the end Tyrone deserved the win and it’s just as well.

    Ah well. There always next year

  7. Fair Enough WJ. You are of course entitled to your opinion. Good to see it too and thanks for keeping this site and these discussions alive. It’s an awful lot better than the other boards where you see Fools and Eejits etc. beefing us up before games and in the end turning the rest of the country agin us.
    in my own opinion I think (well i hope) johno does stay for the remainder of his tenure. He was given a job for 3 years and well 2 out of the 3 are gone. And yes we have had 2 bad years.
    But So what.
    Prior to that we have had 55 years before experiencing what everyone really wants.
    Personally, I don’t think another Connacht title means that much. Ok it would be closer to the Galway mark and it does seem a step back, but with all due respect to all mayo fans I believe that what everyone wants to see is the real goal i.e. the Sam.
    I could give my assessment of JOMs management achievements however I will leave that until you make your own assessment/arguments in a seperate article as you mentioned above. i will leave my reply to then (if your prefer as again this is Your site) but, for me I think he should see out the contract.

  8. Thanks JPM – as you say, it’s only an opinion I’m expressing. I’ve held my fire till now but cannot do so any longer after two desperately disappointing years.

    I wouldn’t be as dismissive about winning Connacht. To be competitive at All-Ireland level we should not only be winning Connacht now and again, we should be aiming to dominate the province for a number of years. Look at Dublin – four Leinsters in a row and it’s only now that they can have real hopes (not just the usual hyped-up bullshit) of winning Sam. The bottom line is that if we’re not good enough to come out on top in Connacht, we’re not going to be good enough to take on the top teams from the other provinces. In other words, the way to Sam is via Nestor.

  9. When Johnno took over I was glad however I am pinching myself to see if its the same man that ran galway and Leitrim. Year one he made Kevin O Neill captain and Gardiner vice capt. Both were gone by the tme we met Derry. In fairness O Neill was better off used as an impact sub at that stage of his career. Year two and we have two new players, Cuniffe and Parsons. Yet we are told we are rebuilding. The six starting forwards v Tyrone have all played in at least one All Ireland senior final. The team is stale, tired and clearly devoid of passion and drive. Only a near total clearout will turn things around. The future is the O Sheas, Barry Moran, Cafferky, Barrett mixed in with a few street wise defenders that actually know how to defend and when to hit. Of the team that lined out against Tyrone only Padden and Harte along with Parsons could consider themselves certain of being picked for next years squad. Clear the decks now of the ’04 and ’06 squads. O Mahoney may or may not remain on. If he goes there are ample amount of men to turn the whole thing around. Lets start picking from J P Kean, Kevin McStay, Peter Ford, Pat Holmes, Noel Connelly, Pat Fallon or James Horan. Any of those with the others as back up managment would do a lot better than what we have endured for the last two years. Since 2004 we have appeared in two senior finals, two under twenty one finals and a minor final. Where has all the talent gone?

  10. Hi WJ, I would completely agree with your comments above …If we cannot win our own provincial conests then we have little or no hope of going through the backdoor…. put it like this … kerry, galway and tyrone all did it …. what have they got in common ?… they all have won all irelands previously and know what it takes to get back to that utopia….
    Valid point by ontheroad …. by the way you can add another club final to that list … ballina 2005….

  11. I dont know what to think. We ran him 19 years ago and regretted it for the next 17. do we want to go down that road again. I made this point to a few opposition hardliners on sat night… they reckoned he also cost us the 89 final and followed it up with some valid points. Mahonys comments on sat night really annoyed me though. Emphasising that he was pressurised into the job was disappointing to say the least. We currently dont have the players to win an all ireland and realisitically at our best we could have lost to Galway and tyrone but what concerns me most is the lack of hunger on the field and lack of a patter to our play. Mahony is accountable for both of these. We need to think carefully about running him. I dont think it will happen and in a way i think it would be best if he sees out his term. I have been told by friends on mine from other counties that we would be the laughing stock of the country if we run him. WHo would we end up with???? Anyway I dont think we will have to worry about that. Reckon he will stay. His best performance of his tenure was last sat. the players let us down when the game was there for the taking. Maybe he is learning even at this stage??? We will know more in 12 months time. By the way when are the minors out again??

  12. You could be right on pretty much all counts there, Ted. (I’ve now calmed down and I’m no longer sure I have that rant I said I was going to compose in me).

    Saturday night’s interview really pissed me off. I just thought that if he viewed the job as such a burden and if he was angling to be relieved of it that he should just go. The whole political angle has annoyed me too – it’s undoubtedly the case that football is now secondary to politics for him, something that cost us dearly last year in Salthill and where everytime he now opens his mouth, it’s political-speak he comes out with. The way he dealt with Mac was purely political – he spun his side of the story in the best possible light, confident (incorrectly as it turned out) that Mac wouldn’t go to the papers with his. He lost an enormous amount of credibility, and good will, in the process.

    But, you know, you’re right that the rest of the country would have a right good laugh at us if we ran him out of town at this point and, God knows, we’ve done that to enough managers in the past.

    I’d still have serious doubts about his ability to turn things around next year and would fear that, if anything, our slide backwards will continue but, I suppose, he’s made the mess so he should do something to try and clear it up.

    A realistic target for Johnno would be to leave the team in as good a state as he inherited it. Whatever we had to say about John Maughan’s shortcomings, he did so both times he was at the helm and brought us far closer to an All-Ireland than Johnno is likely to do.

  13. Forgot about your question on the minors – they’re playing Monaghan in the quarter-finals at Longford on Saturday. Not sure yet when the throw-in is for that one.

  14. Running Johnno won’t undo what happened Mickey Moran and John Morrison. All it would show is that the county board have no confidence in whomever they appoint. And the notion that things can’t get worse under Kean/Fallon/Horan/Whoever might have a weak basis in fact.

    Ask them in Cavan if things can’t get worse. We don’t see Cavan about very much any more, and they have 39 provincial titles, just two less than Mayo, even though they’ve won just one in the guts of forty years. There is no divine right to these things. Things can always get worse.

    As for Maughan III, ah Christ, I don’t know. We need to let the hare sit for a month or two I think. Feeney’s report will be interesting. Remember the crack he had about “ladeens” in 2006? He’ll be good this year I’m thinking.

  15. That’s absolutely true, Spailpin – my fear is that, given the direction we’re headed in and the velocity we’re moving at, the gap to the top teams could increase significantly next year. Cavan are a good example of this alright. Closer to home, the Sheepstealers are possibly an even more apt one.

    Johnno’s inability to get the best out of the players leads me to believe that we’re unlikely to see a major improvement next year but, after 48 hours of dark mutterings to myself, I’ve come round to accepting that there’s little point dropping the pilot now. As Ted has said above, we spent 17 years regretting it the first time we parted company with him!

  16. Hello Willie Joe,
    I’m not too sure about the whole Johnno debate, whether he should go or not, the real question is could anybody else do better? Is the quality available in the county? Three different managers have tried in the last 5-6 years but generally have ended using the same bunch of players.

    In my own humble opinion I don’t think any progress has been made since 2004. Fair enough we lost two All-Irelands in 96 and 97 but those teams could count themselves unlucky- the sideline erred on those occasions – since 2004 however it has all been downhill in relation to the county team.

    I spent 2004 in New Zealand and so could only keep in touch with the endeavours of the county team through the net or the odd phonecall home. And through one such call I first heard about Ronan Mc Garrity. ‘Who’s he?’ I asked the ould fella, ‘oh some basketballer from Ballina’. Immediately I panicked. You see I’m from north mayo and I’d never heard of this guy before, so howcome he was good enough to line out aganist Kerry in an All-Ireland Final? The answer is he wasn’t, not in 2004, not in 2006, not ever. Tom Parsons already has shown more skill in the green and red than McGarrity could ever hope. Learning to play football in New York doesn’t quite sound right. Now, I don’t blame the man himself, as he has shown great commitment in recovering from serious illness, I blame the idiots who have confused height with footballing ability.

    Since 2006 the dog in the street could tell you that Mayo needed a spine down the middle, from full back right up to full forward. We have only filled one of those positions with Parsons (maybe two or three if Barry Moran can get a run without injuries and Trevor Howley gets a chance at centre back). After that, and especially when it comes to the forwards it looks kinda bleak. But whomever is tried, they need time in their positions both at club and county level.

    Speaking of the forwards Anthony Hennigan in the Western made an interesting, and also worrying, point. In the last two games Billy Joe finished top point scorer from play. How many? 4. So in nearly two and a half hours of football the best (if thats what you call it) a mayo forward could manage was four points from play! Very sad. But doesn’t Mortimer get his free’s I hear you ask? Yes he does, but so would my nephew if his mother would let a 2 year old play! He chickened out of going for goal in the second half just like he chickens out of staying on his feet to get soft frees to put his name on the scoreboard. If he’s the only option available in Mayo, then quite simply, WE’RE FUCKED.

    Are there no forwards in Mayo. Players that an opposition corner back would fear playing against, who can win their own ball and can score for fun? Maybe this is why Johnno seems so sceptical about the future. He had a few stalwarts left from the nineties, a few of the U-21’s coming up but now he knows the truth. The talent isn’t there (at present) to win an All-Ireland. The skills base of the Mayo players certainly doesn’t compare to those of the Galway team that he managed, and they’re not physical enough to bully teams, so what can he do? You cant question the commitment of the Mayo players, its just that they’re not good enough. End of question.

    So, where to from here? The whole structures for football in the county at present need to be assessed, then burned, ‘cos there not producing the results. I have never heard anyone in Quinns in Drumcondra after a match lament the fact that theres no lights in McHale Park or the seats in the press box would ‘cut the hole ‘o ya’. The money earmarked for McHale Park would be far better spent providing gear and coaching to the schools and clubs of the county, and maybe a few hurls too for that matter. What use will a revamped McHale Park be if the players using it continue to disapoint.

    Yesterday was a disapointment, but we’re well used to them at this stage. Full credit should go to Clarke, Nallen, Gardiner, Parsons, Padden and Dillon. We lost a game we should have won, but, and it kills me to say this, but we really are better off.

    Sorry WJ for the ranting and raving, but I feel beller now.

    From KD, a long suffering Mayoman and fan. Keep her lit

  17. Nothing wrong with a rant at a time like this, KD, and you make a fair bit of sense in what you have to say. It’s difficult to accept that we’re as far off the pace as we are but that’s what we have to do. All together now: “there’s always next year!”

  18. kd very unfair attack on ronan mcgarrity .he has had some very good games for mayo in the past and most definitatly is a county class midfielder. liam mchale used to get the same criticsm when he started out with mayo and he did not turn out to bad also i think aiden kilcoyne is coming in for alot of unfair attacks from mayo supporters.he had a bad game on saturday but he is not a corner forward and to say based on one game that he is not good enough is wrong.do people forget the impact that he had in the laois and dublin games in 2006 and he was the one of the few mayo players to make an impression against derry last year until he got injured.

  19. To Mayo 51

    I’ve nothing against McGarrity as a person. Its not his fault that he gets picked. Hes not a natural footballer, let alone a midfielder in the tradition of O’Shea, Mullins, Hayes, Kilgallon, Fallon, Whealan. Darragh O’Shea or Cavanagh. Basically anyone who has to run 20 yards to catch their own solo shouldn’t be picked to grace an inter-county football team. Mayo’s problem is that he’s probably the best of a bad lot. And thats the crux of the problem we face here in Mayo, too many players just haven’t been up to the task. That of winning the All-Ireland for the first time in 57 Years. 57 YEARS!!!. OMG

  20. some new players are needed straight away next season, if there are any ground soldiers ready to take up the challenge that is…
    The sight of mayo falling on the battlefield every year hardly inspiries any new troops to commit to the front line for the whole winter and spring/summer.

    I’ve always believed success breeds success, at any team or club at any level. We have had a fairly successfull under age structure but as we know it does not always transpire to the senior ranks (Laois)

    So whats the answer if there is no real past or current success? where do we start?
    Maybe start by getting players who have a love of playing instead of players that have a fear of loosing..
    Every passing year more pressure comes on the shoulders of the green and red army..we should let the steam off for a while..lower our expectations..you never know what mite happen. I know that it is hard to swallow, but if we want to entice new blood into the squad, we have to let them go in there with no pressure to get results within their 1st year and start liking the fucking game again, get some pride in the jersey, and never mind what anyone else thinks.

    Since the olympics are starting soon il end with an wise chinese teaching..

    If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will die quickly.
    However, if one throws a frog into a pot of cold water, and slowly brings the pot to the boil, the frog will live…

    p.s. I agree with your rant KD.. maybe the county board thought if we build it, they will come..??!

  21. McGarrity is McGarrity not anyone else. If he’s the best of a bad lot then thats what you have to play. Thing is that Parsons and Cuniffe are being blooded (and for v. key positions at this level).
    I think the criticism of Conor is a little harsh. He came is for some serious abuse in the Tyrone game. saw it again there on TV3 and in fairness to him he got up again and again and took it. Kilcoyne and Moran were v. poor. P Harte went off injured. That left BJ and Dillon. BJ had a good game, Dillon was average (i say this because he failed to score fro play)
    However the Backs were excellent. Midfield was more than competitive. Unfortunatly for Parsons he did make some bad descicions, 1st shot was bad and off target but he tried shooting again and again when getting close to goal, when the correct option (after missing the first time) was to give it to a forward.
    But …again he’s only a young fella! See what he’s like when he’s 25, 26 or 27.
    When it comes to all in all though we do need better forwards and that’s the bottom line.
    Finally We lost this year to Tyrone and Galway.
    Tyrone have Dooher and Cavanagh… and they play the Dubs….
    Galway have the great P Joyce..and they play the kingdom. Could we judge our performances/progress after seeing how long these two last in the championship this year?

  22. I spent 2004 in Ireland myself and, with the greatest of respect to KD’s old pappy, Ronan McGarrity did not learn his football in New York. He learned it in St Muredach’s College, Ballina, around the same time as David Clarke, Pat Harte, Sligo’s Dessie Sloyan and a few more. Just so we all know what we’re talking about.

    I take JPM’s point about playing McGarrity until we have better but – and this is just a matter of opinion now as opposed to the matter of fact above – when we have two better midfielders than McGarrity and Parsons we’ll be doing ok. I’m reasonably sure of that.

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