IN FULL VOICE Some of the Mayo senior football squad are pictured singing Christmas Carols on Bridge Street in Castlebar last year to raise funds for St Vincent De Paul. Pic: Michael McLaughlin
1 A time machine for Ciaran McDonald
WHEN he was out of sight, he was out of mind. But now that the Crossmolina playmaker has joined James Horan’s backroom team for the 2020 season, many Mayo supporters have been reminscing about the good old days. The days when McDonald sprayed the ball around nonchalantly, bobbed and weaved his way through defences, and always looked to be about to make something happen. He was the X-Factor footballer of the late 90s and early 00s.
McD is 44 now, and has hung up his boots for club and county for quite a while.
But surely there’s something in Santa’s sack that could turn back the hands of time by a decade and allow Horan to pick a team that included McDonald, the O’Connor brothers, Aidan O’Shea and James Carr in the same forwardline?
On second thoughts, it might be too much for some Mayo supporters to deal with. .
You’d want oxygen, defibrillators and the Order of Malta lads at the ready!
2 A money tree for the County Board
EVERYONE could do with a money tree, but when you consider the sorts of figures that appeared on Mayo GAA’s balance sheets at the recent Convention, it’s easy to see why the issue of finances has become such a hot topic in the GAA.
The County Board spent €1.7m on preparing and running its teams in 2019, and also had to shell out around €400,000 to service the loan on the MacHale Park redevelopment.
At the moment that loan is going nowhere and, if the terms of the agreement aren’t changed, Mayo GAA are looking at another 28 years of shelling out the same money.
So before another euro is spent on anything else, the County Board executive committee have to figure out how to come up with around €40,000 per week to keep the county teams on the road and pay back their debt on MacHale Park.
It can be done, of course, and is being done thanks to a lot of hard work.
But a money tree would make things easier!
3 Some matches to watch soon
WE all know that Christmas Eve means there’s one sleep left to the big day.
But how many of you know that December 24 also means that there are 19 sleeps left until Mayo begin their 2020 season with an FBD League semi-final against Galway in Castlebar?
After all that’s gone on over the last few months off the pitch, and in the boardroom, Mayo supporters are counting down the hours to Sunday, January 12. Because that’s the day when all the noise, claims, counter-claims, leaked e-mails and talk of governance, donkeys, legal letters and general chaos will be replaced by a football match.
From months of playing politics to the simple joy of playing football again.
Sure, the saga/dispute/whatever you’re having yourself will have to be sorted out by the grown-ups in MacHale Park, Connacht GAA, Croke Park and the Foundation, but all the rank-and-file Mayo supporters want is to watch some football again.
So, if Santa could speed things up a bit, everyone would be delighted.