Us? Negative? I think not...
No BUTS. And no ifs and no maybes.
But (sorry) there was a time when we were all happy and negativity was a word yet to enter our local dictionary. And the only butt used was the one pegged out the window of a passing car, found on the roadway and pulled on for the last dying drag.
Yes indeed, the glory years of 1950 and 1951. You could search the county for an unhappy man, a negative fan, a cranky Dan or a cynical wan and your search would be futile. Land of milk and honey, never a poor day to witness again.
Beach parties, festivals, fleadhs, ceilís and a general air of celebration pervaded ‘The Sweet Plains’. Bad form? Jaysus, they were having the time of their lives. All in great fettle. Thanks for asking.
And I remember my own youth when we might win the odd underage All Ireland and the craic would be ninety for a few months. A few of us went on a savage bender after a Connacht final win in the mid 80s.
I have friends who stagger out of the county, swearing never to return such was the pressure exerted on their bodies by the constant yahooing, laughing and partying. And you know despite the promises, they will go back.
John Morrison – get up the yard! We know the glory game needs different opinions to flame the interest of the followers but if your hypothesis is one where the Larrys from Mayo are a negative critical squad, and yerself and Mickey are the northern version of happiness and light, then we need to meet. We need to talk. Soon.
You can spin ‘til you hurl up a storm, but ‘facts is facts’ as the actress might say to the bishop. Like, who whinged and got all negative when Galway tackled a little harder that expected. And closed down the ‘BraGahs’ (Brazilian GAA players)? You can argue we resemble the boys from Brazil but (sorry) every time I see them on the TV from Germany they are in samba party mode.
I personally don’t want to be negative when ye have just guided the team into a provincial final but (sorry) a few points need covering.
Like when you lose a man when you are eight points up, a three-two forward line should do the trick. Especially when you have the staff to play the two man full-forward line option.
Being a negative race, as you suggest, we should instantly agree with a dozen or so players behind the ball to defend a stout lead but our natural instinct is to question it. Simply because we paid a few bob at the gate, we like to see the lads play with a bit of style and find we usually do jump the Leitrim fence cleanly rather than sneak under it.
Only saying like. But (sorry) a big win would have been a horrible result too so like the attack on Galway after the NFL defeat, I expect this one point win, with no scoring for close on half an hour, is part of the grand master plan. A replica of Dublin v Longford? Indeed.
Let’s get to the positives; I love positivity. The team had the use of a splendid bus to transport them to Leitrim and looked resplendent in their new fashionable jerseys. The 15 to start were perfect sporting specimens and closely resembled the great Mayo gael of the early nineteenth century. Not men but giants.
But (sorry) seriously though (sorry, I know that word is a first cousin of but) the loss of DB to the dreaded metatarsal, in similar circumstances to the England captain of similar initials, meant a rethink at midfield was needed. Ten out of ten here with the Pat Harte selection.
But (sorry) it was a pity he walked the line as a full seventy minutes was needed for him. Still (I know this is kinda close to the dreaded word) he will improve and a real option was unearthed.
The performance of Keith Higgins was sensational but (sorry) nothing we failed to recognise in him over the past couple of seasons.
Any other positives? We won by one and JM (no, not him, he’s with Roscommon these days) is right: the rulebook does not say it needs to be any greater than the bare minimum.
The threatened heart attacks in the stands and terraces (dugout and sideline?) might feel we should have moved on and won by ten or twelve when the game was over at the three quarter stage but (sorry) no matter.
McHale Park, Castlebar, here we come. More partying for the mad Mayo gael who takes the week off to prepare properly for the stresses of a Connacht Final. Will it all end in tears? Are you joking; sure it’s our turn to win it!
No buts. No wouldas, couldas or shouldas. No ifs or maybes. I think our name is on the cup. But (sorry) though (distant cousin) we still (close cousin in another context) dream, Galway have this shocking habit of spoiling our party.
Mayo Minors must watch out for Ros’
LAST Sunday I was on duty in the RTE dungeons and my watch was the Armagh versus Fermanagh Ulster semi-final replay.
But (sorry) I kept a close eye on the early afternoon pictures coming from Carrick-on-Shannon where the minors were in action. It is one of our great boasts that year after year we continue to produce competitive minor teams.
Playing with composure and no little style they quickly put a fancied Leitrim team to the sword and advanced to yet another final. And more importantly, ensured action for themselves up to the quarter-final stages in early August. Summer football for these youngsters is just what the doctor ordered.
Pierce Hanley was superb and Liam Lydon impressed. The seven-point win was assured by half-time such was the flow of scores from a fast moving and dangerous forward line.
But (only the second first use of the word in this particular section of the column!) you might recall a piece I did a few months ago where a few paragraphs dealt with the efforts of the Ros’ minor management to re-establish the county as a force. For many years now their underage teams fail to make an impact and generally leave the stage before June is out.
Last Saturday night they deservedly ousted the championship favourites, Galway, and though they poached a lucky goal there was a sense victory was with the Rossies from far out. Lucky goals count the same as great goals and now the squad are planning in detail for the Mayo game.
Mayo will be big favourites and rightly so after a sparkling display. Respect for the opposition will be vital if the correct attitude is to soak in during the build up.
Mayo will be silly, silly boys if complacency is allowed to enter their ranks for this Roscommon team will fight to the bitter end for their medals. They are not world-beaters but (last time this week) they are a team and the entire group knows the demands and responsibilities on each squad member. I have watched them train and know the men who guide them. In Ballina they have a phrase to describe them: ‘They’re no flats’.
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