Late start today due to two hours spent in the dentist’s chair this morning, which left me with a numb jaw, a slightly drunken gait and a considerably lighter wallet. Okay, let’s get to it as there’s quite a bit to cover.
The Mayo News is the obvious place to start. Johnno says he was “gutted” by the result on Sunday, hardly surprising given (a) the manner in which we lost and (b) Donegal are the Herrin Gutters – after all, it’s what they do and they sure did it to us. The Boss makes the point that on Sunday we corrected the problem we had against Donegal last year – where we started slowly in both matches – but he’s clearly rueful of the fact that we didn’t close the deal.
Interestingly, the issue of the amount of added time played comes up again in Johnno’s comments. This time The Deputy feels there was too much time added on (so did I, from my standpoint up on the cold concrete seating – my posterior was positively glacial by then) whereas against Derry he was adamant that the full-time whistle came too soon. He also has a few things to say about the ref and, for a while yesterday, I was of a mind to have a nice, therapeutic rant about our friend Mr Duffy as well. My time in the dentist’s chair has, however, calmed me and so I’ll restrict myself to pointing out that he’s the same gentleman who made a total pig’s ear out of reffing last year’s Munster final.
There’s more about Sunday’s match in the Mayo News, in the form of Mike Finnerty’s match report and Sean Rice’s column. The latter reckons that the final ball from Eamon McGee not only hit the net, it also “sank, sickeningly, into the pit of every Mayo stomach”. I dunno about that: I didn’t see that many ball-shaped bellies on the way out of McHale Park and I haven’t noticed anything yet with an O’Neills brand on it emerging from you-know-where.
Away, at last, from the Donegal game, it appears that Ronan McGarritty will be fit to play for Ballina in Sunday’s All-Ireland club semi-final clash with Nemo. If they win on Sunday, there’s no chance we’ll see Ronan back until after the final (by which time we’ll have played both Laois and Kerry in the league). A teentsy-weentsy bit of me wouldn’t be crying bucketloads, I must admit, if Ballina were to fall at this penultimate hurdle. Apart from strengthening the county panel, it would also resolve that potential conflict of interest I’ve mentioned in the past (though, of course, if Vinnies take the hop too on Sunday that would sort it as well).
The ladies got the bejaysus battered out of them by the Kerry belles in their opening league fixture at the weekend. Well, at least now they know what the lads have been through. Apparently, it was a team shorn of almost all the regular panel members and it was, of course, a team that doesn’t yet have a manager. Take a bow, Ms Caroline Brogan – in your short time as County Board Chairman, you’ve already left an indelible mark on women’s football in the county.
Elsewhere – and breaking news this is – RTE have claimed victory in the battle to secure the rights to the remaining Championship fixtures that Croke Park was dangling in front of them and TV3 and the others. Here’s RTE’s self-congratulatory announcement about the outcome of the process: can those guys ever talk about themselves without bringing up all that usual bollocks about public sector broadcasting?
Cork. Hmmm, it’s all over and not before time too. Fair play to Teddy Holland’s two selectors who steadfastly refused to fall on their swords and instead made those clowns in the county board do the dirty work themselves. Very few of the dramatis personae of this particular farce come out of it with their reputations enhanced but you have to have sympathy with Teddy Holland and his team. More breaking news: Conor Counihan has been appointed as the new Cork bainisteoir. Watch your back, there, Conor boy.
Also on Cork, I see that Meath and Dublin are now refusing to refix those postponed league ties. Quite right too – Cork failed to show up when those matches were supposed to be played and it was an utter cop-out on the GAA’s behalf to declare the matches as postponed in the first place. Cork should have forfeited the points for both games – that would have concentrated the players’ minds on their return from the picket line – and it would be a complete travesty were Meath and Dublin now to face sanctions for telling the rebelling Rebels where to get off. This particular hot potato has now been handed to the CCCCCCCCCCCCCC (or something like that) to resolve tonight.
Finally, it now seems certain that relations are, indeed, to be resumed with our pugilist-minded Antipodean friends. A whole list of changes to the playing rules and to disciplinary procedures have apparently been agreed with the Aussies (though, it would seem, not with any accompanying sidebar deal to limit poaching of GAA starlets). So, no more GBH, assault and battery or reckless endangerment on the field of play. I dunno: it all still smells of poo to me and not that cute Kaola bear stuff either. No, this one is a great big, stinking Kangaroo turd and I, for one, think we’ve reached the time where we need to tell our Aussies friends to take a hop.