A MAJOR hurricane made landfall late Friday night in Texas, and with expectations of it causing a large amount of destruction and flooding, I was part of a skeleton-crew of writers on duty for the weekend.
It’s entirely possible that it’s this, as a very serious distraction, that had me in a state of calmness. It might also be psychological self-preservation instincts kicking in. The level of confidence in the Mayo team, and management, only grew as the day drew nearer, but there’s always a tiny niggle of uncertainty at the back of the mind.
All evidence pointed to Mayo being the better team the last day – just not on the scoreboard. This was the only conundrum Stephen Rochford and Co needed to figure out.
Step back and think of what they did. Kerry, the loudly proclaimed gatekeepers of the beautiful game, set up with a sweeper against Mayo. The perennial pretenders to the throne dictating to the crown prince how to play the game! ‘Man for man, we fear you, you’re better than us and we’ll try and stop you this way’ is what it tells this amateur student of the game.
Pat Spillane can’t untangle or separate himself from being Kerry. Any objective producer should see this and strive to bring balance to the proceedings, but we’ll move along.
Kerry have the most to improve, Kerry were undercooked, and got out of jail the first day.
Joe Brolly follows up with an assertion that ‘Rochford lacks confidence’. Let’s assume in that making it this far with me, we can agree to just leave that one hanging there.
Colm O’Rourke is fast becoming the only show in town. He may have butchered his lines and belief that Mayo could win last week. He’s not making the same mistake this time around. This is not a great Kerry team. Mayo won’t make as many mistakes. Mayo have a great chance.
The clock is ticking down. Like the panic with which Mr Bean discovers the questions on the reverse side of the exam paper, Michael Lyster realises it’s just four minutes to the throw-in. “What about this game?” he asks. Four minutes of forward-looking ‘analysis’ is what we get? You could not make it up.
Having covered his cock-sure bases, Spillane calls for a traditional, classic epic. (Hadn’t he seen and already commented on the Kerry team which pointed away from their tradition?) Brolly, if you can bring yourself to care, went for a glorious draw. O’Rourke, again the only one with any decorum, laid it down. These are panic changes.
Mayo can improve. Mayo can win.
It’s not what he’s saying, it’s how he’s saying it.
Reasoned and rational.
Spillane wasn’t happy at half-time, which immediately brightened the mood further. It’s poor football (from Kerry). Niggly. And his biggest complaint of all – Mayo played all the football – delivered with indignity. The bloody cheek! How dare they! Don’t they know their place?
By full-time, all Pat wanted to do was slink off home. We won’t be sending flowers.
The great news is we will continue to fly under the radar because we cannot possible compete with either the narrative or this steamrolling Dublin side. Let the phony war commence. You’re dead right, Pat. We haven’t a prayer. The only question is: do I book the flight or wait for the replay?
James O’Connell, a former Mayo News reporter from Ballinrobe, is the Americas head of news for S&P Global