Who’ll win Sam?

So, here we are again facing into another championship campaign.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to launch into what would be just another preview of the summer’s action (though, in this respect, I can recommend these two offerings from An Spailpín, this one about the championship in general and this one about our own hopes for the months that lie ahead) but instead to alert you to the poll I’ve just stuck up on the site to gauge opinions about who you think might be climbing the steps in the Hogan this September to claim the game’s top prize.

The current Kerry/Tyrone duopoly has now been in place for seven years, which is just a year short of that long and overly celebrated Kerry/Dublin era a generation ago.  I don’t know about the rest of you but this particular hegemony is causing me a bit of a pain in the particulars and I’d love to see somebody – anybody! – coming in dish ear and putting an end to the current dreary reign.  Cork are obviously the most likely to do this but their abject failure when similarly touted for success last September means that they still have much to prove and, if it’s Kerry that are lining out against them in this year’s final, nobody should be at all surprised if those rather large Leesiders end up getting their holes badly kicked all over again.

An Spailpín makes the insightful point that the last few years has seen a dark horse make it to the semis – Wexford and Meath (twice) have made it this far in the last three years – and he reckons that Joe Kernan could well steer Galway into the last four.  If we win Connacht (a bit of a bigger ‘if’ now, in light of our league final flop) and avoid falling on our faces once again in Croker in the quarters (perhaps an even bigger ‘if’), we could well find ourselves in this quartet.  Who else might make it?  Kildare? Meath (again)? Armagh? Down?

The bookies obviously can’t see beyond Kerry, Tyrone or Cork at the minute and they’re quite clearly the front runners so they’re the only ones I’ve included in the poll.  I have, however, left open the option of adding others, in case anyone has any particular insights on a dark horse who might make it all the way to glory in September. Here’s hoping, I suppose.

UPDATE: I see that someone has already added ourselves in as an option.  Feel free to add others.

18 thoughts on “Who’ll win Sam?

  1. It’s a tough one WJ my heart as always whispers “maybe Mayo” but then my head answers “Shut Up”. Kerry don’t seem as strong this year with some key players missing but they can go to Croker weak and still come away with a result. Tyrone has a point to prove and they are fearless but I don’t think they are there this year. Cork is the team to beat but they are capable of collapsing spectacularly against Kerry.

    I ‘m an ABK (Anybody But Kerry) man myself but I won’t be voting just yet.

  2. That’s a good summary, Coilltemach – I’d be with you on pretty much all of it (including the “Shut Up” bit!). By the way, how did the Championship Forum go the other night? I’ve heard no reports of fist fights breaking out at it so I assume it was all well-mannered stuff on the night, despite all those egos crammed into one room!

  3. I didn’t make it down WJ. Like yourself I’m a Mayo man exiled in Dublin and I couldn’t make it that weekend. I didn’t hear too much about what was said either. I’m down this weekend and will let you know if there is anything interesting to report back. ; )

  4. Thanks for that, Coilltemach – I heard (from someone else who wasn’t there, though he was speaking to someone who was) that it was all fairly low-key and that Johnno didn’t get any kind of grilling about the league final performance. It’d be good to hear, though, if there are any juicy tidbits to relate on the evening!

  5. I was at it lads. Very enjoyable night. Fair play to Kiltimagh club for organising it. The only mention of the NFL final came from John OMahoney himself. He put his hands up and said they didn’t preform and he’s not going to make excuses for it. Paudi was top class. Never laughed as much. He got a dig in at the start about lending johnno a hand if he needed it. he had a story about everything. He’s a serious character! John Maughan spoke very well. He got a couple of digs in at the local media. No harm either! Basically said people that don’t go to games take the medias word as gospel. Got the point across that no one knows what happens inside the gates of training sessions and players are not just picked on match day performance etc. He made some excellent points and wad defo the most confident speaker on stage.
    Peter Forde questioned the need for statisions. He made some good points. OMahony reckoned in the next few years management won’t be in side lines. They will opperate from the stand getting information a la rugby style! They all spoke pretty well. Thought
    Omahony was the only one that sat on the fence with his answers though. Suppose he had to be cute being the only one involved in inter-county
    management. I’m now a turn-coat and a big fan of paudi. Would love to meet him for a pint!
    On another note there is a piece in western people referring to Portugal trip. I get the feeling there is some unrest in the camp between county boards and friends of Mayo football. Looks like the county board were not really involved in the organising of the trip!

  6. see todays Herald has a “Battle for Sam” 16 pager – a lot of the usual page filler guff from Kevin McStay, Bomber Liston, Ciaran Whelan and so on – wouldn’t rush out to buy it!.
    One thing struck me though that every last contributor and pundit (and there are quite a few) is tipping Cork to win – I didn’t find a single exception !! The overwhelming favourites tag for Cork could creat pressures for them that they might not be ready for!
    What about Mayo ? a few have them to win Connacht but a few also have them down as the team most likely to be ambushed ( by Sligo). Predictions that Joe Kernan could be the manager most in ‘fear of the bacon slicer’ with a few mentions for JOM in that category as well.
    And they have a Champioship dream team with no Mayo player making it – for the record it is:
    S Cluxton
    Marc O Se, Justin McMahon, Karl Lacey
    Tomas O Se, G Canty, A Kernan
    K Donaghy, S Cavanagh
    P Galvin, C Cooper, Dec O Sullivan
    D Goulding, B Brogan, Stephen O Neill

    If there was any positive from the NFL final it’s that we well and truly under the radar this year. Time will tell if that’s a good place to be but for choice it might be a hell of a lot better than if won and we were where Cork are right now.

  7. Hi WJ,
    just wondering do you have the code for the championship mini league yet?

  8. Hi Mortified – not yet but thanks for reminding me. I should have set it up before now but will do so later on this evening. Good luck with the defence of your title!

  9. I’ve just deleted the two “none of the above” options that someone added to the poll. It’s fine to add options but it’s best to keep them to specific counties – no fence-sitting allowed on this one!

  10. Its still hard to believe how fickle the mayo fanbase is.By the sounds of it we shouldnt even try this year.We got beating in the league final fair enough,top two in division 1.We discovered the players that are not up to it and the ones that are,we can place those with better players.They have 6 weeks to work on it.The absoloute crap thats talked by mayo fans is unbelievable e.g. solving our centre back problems with andy moran or trevor mortimer.It’s fair to say we have a midfield and forward line to match anybody, just about getting the defence right now.A great keeper aswell.Its up to johnno, i dont think a manager has had as good as a aquad as this in mayo very a very long time.I cannot believe that people are actually considering the sligo game a proper challenge.I can almost guarantee an ai semi final this year.There is absoloutely nothing apart from mayo in connacht.I have seen sligo a few times this year, the standard in div 3 is awful.Have some faith and open the eyes lads/girls.

  11. Talked to a fellow townie yesterday and we had a good chat about where Mayo is at. He had a bit of wisdom when he said okay we are not the top team but who many are above us? Kerry, Cork, Tyrone,. We beat them all. So let us see what is before us. Keep the faith.
    Oh an outside bet this weekend Tipp to beat Kerry!!!!!

  12. JJ, I admire your optimism, and I share a lot of it.
    I’m certainly not writing us off after that one (admittedly very poor) performance in the league final.
    But I’d be a bit more cautious in writing off all the other teams in Connacht.
    Sligo may well have been a Div 3 team this year, but they won the division and showed in the Championship last year that they are tough beat.
    From what I recall, we’ve always found it quite difficult up there in Markievicz Park. WJ will hopefully reveal all with his preview of the game, showing previous meetings.
    I’d still expect us to win there however.
    As for Galway, I learned many years ago to never write them off…I would read nothing into the NY game. They are also a different beast with Meehan in the side.

  13. Just looking at the dream team as highlighted by Ma-Yeoman I am amazed at the media fixation with Cluxton. By my reckoning he cost Dublin a semi-final v Armagh, a quarter final v Kerry at least once. He has picked up All Stars in years where he has made catastrophic mistakes but hey….he sells the Herald and is easier to evaluate than some guy between the sticks down in the West.

  14. Too true, ontheroad – if Clarkie was between the sticks for them, he’d be laden down with All-Stars by now. Cluxton even managed to get an All-Star in 2007, after he’d kicked the ball straight out to a Kerryman near the end of that year’s semi-final, which was promptly knocked over the bar for the insurance point. But, as you say, it keeps sales of the Herald up …

    Thanks for getting back to me on the mini-league: I think that fix works now.

  15. more than one bad performance in the league????!!! We were rubbish against cork, rubbish against Dublin and rubbish against Monaghan!! The warning signs have been there all along …

  16. Dan regards the connacht issue,Sligo are reading little bit too much into running Kerry close last year, lets not forget so did longford.Sligo had a decent second half to the league, its hard to believe how bad it is i.e. westmeath.They struggled to beat wexford at home without matty forde, beat louth by a point or two.Don’t read too much into div3,they are the same team we walked past two years ago.With galway im not going to read too much into the ny game.They have been the same for the last 5-6 years.We could have beating and should have bet them by 6-8 points last year.They have nothing apart from one great and one good player.Look at the mayo team and there is nothing in connacht compared to it.

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