WE should have known.
IT was the most anticipated Mayo County Board meeting in history. Postponed on two occasions – which only added fuel to the suspense – as the nation lay in wait for the club delegates to stage their own version of the Spanish Inquisition on the top table after the controversy that has engulfed Mayo GAA in recent weeks.
In the hours leading up to the meeting, rumours were rife that the officers of the County Board would go all ‘FAI at the Oireachtas Committee’ and head down the road that nobody can question – the one signposted, ‘letter of the law’.
However, it didn’t deter one ‘interested observer who travelled from New York’ to attend the meeting. Or so he told us. County Board chairman Mike Connelly announced early on that only club delegates were allowed to be in the room, but the man in question kept the head down and said nothing.
However, the cat was let out of the bag when the roll call arrived and the man exited the rear door to the sound of gentle laughter and some confusion.
Although it would have been a journey wasted because when the mention of a ‘prepared statement’ was announced from the top table, followed by the suggestion of ‘a private meeting’ being scheduled for last night (Monday), without any media present, a palpable sense of frustration filled the room.
The ‘line-by-line’ response promised five weeks earlier by one officer was off the table it seemed, and the delegates didn’t seem too keen to put the ‘legal advice’ that had been received by the County Board to the test.
One delegate did press the issue of no media being allowed access to last night’s meeting, but he was shot down just as quick.
The ultimate Houdini act was pulled off in front of a full house.
One man who might have wished he could have replicated the Hungarian illusionist’s skills was County Board PRO Paul Cunnane who took full responsibility for the ‘musicgate’ controversy that erupted in MacHale Park at the Mayo versus Underdogs match the previous Saturday.
Songs like ‘Shoe the Donkey’ and Abba’s ‘Money, Money Money’ had been played over the Public Address system on the night, in a seemingly lighthearted reference to recent events between Mayo GAA and the International Supporters’ Foundation.
It turned out that the Foundation’s chairman, Tim O’Leary, was at the match in Castlebar and was none-too-impressed by Cunnane’s playlist.
“I e-mailed the person in question and sent on a full apology,” the PRO told the meeting. “He accepted it and apologised to me for some of the deragatory comments he made about me on social media on Saturday evening.
“It wasn’t my intention to offend anyone in the course of my work with Mayo GAA.”
In fairness to the Davitts clubman, he very easily could have kept with the theme of the night and played dumb. But he held his hands up and apologised.
One delegate suggested that an apology to be sent out on Facebook to the Foundation. Another wanted a ‘thank you’ correspondence sent out to them for the O’Neills footballs they purchased for every club in Mayo.
It was fairly obvious which side of the argument these delegates were on anyway.
Who is that, you ask?
Well, I’d rather not say.