Following Mayo's footballers

Pathetic ref denies our minors a deserved win over Kingdom

Mayo 1-7 Kerry 0-10

All-Ireland Minor Football Semi-Final

Those of us who made the trip to Croke Park this afternoon for our minors’ All-Ireland semi-final with Kerry were made to feel what life was like in Kenny Egan’s corner in Beijing this morning. Referee Martin Higgins from Fermanagh gave two late frees to Kerry for incidents which replays showed were nowhere near fouls and the resultant points meant that Kerry’s young royals were granted an undeserved second bite of the cherry. It wasn’t all the ref’s fault, I know, as our total of thirteen wides proved and it’s certainly the case that we should have won the match with more than a bit to spare. Still, it’s galling in the extreme to see frees being given for challenges that were perfectly legal and it’s even more so that those decisions robbed us of victory. If we get a half-decent ref in the replay, there’s no reason that we can’t finish the job then, I suppose, but we should have done so today when the chance was there for us to do it.

I’m not going to do a match report – for those of you who didn’t catch it live, here’s RTE’s – but instead it’s worthwhile reflecting a little on those lads who shone for us today. Chief among them was full-back Kevin Keane (whom Ted told us to watch out for in advance) who kept Kerry’s star forward Barry John Tim Pat Mickey Joe Paudi Sean Walsh scoreless from play. The young Westport man’s positional play was flawless and he never gave Walsh a chance to shine. We could, in a short while, have at last found a worthy successor to Kevin Cahill for that troublesome no.3 jersey on the senior team. David Dolan at right-corner back was also excellent, with his marker Cian Tobin getting called ashore well before the end. Aghamore’s Cathal Freeman was always in the thick of it and thumped over an excellent point from play early in the second half but four failed attempts to follow up on this score partly negated an otherwise encouraging display at wing-back.

Around the middle, James Cafferty, Aidan O’Shea and, in the first half, Alex Corduff did well, though the latter ended up being taken off in the second period after proving an effective target man for much of the first half. O’Shea looks an even better prospect than his older brother and he battled on well for the full hour. Knockmore’s Sean McHale smartly goaled his first-half chance and Ballintubber’s Raymond Geraghty and full-forward Gerard McDonagh from Castlebar showed well in patches too. In the end, Ray Dempsey’s prediction in advance of the game – that our lack of scoring forwards could weigh on our chances – was proved correct, as we created more than enough opportunities to run up a winning score but were unable to convert most of those chances. Kerry, in contrast, survived on bits and pieces, not to mention the munificence of that bollix with the whistle from Fermanagh.

So, a replay it is and with the senior match also ending in a draw, I suppose we could all be back at HQ (or Limerick? or Thurles?) next Saturday for a repeat of both matches. After our match was drawn, we were discussing the possibility of it being replayed in Ennis which would have suited us but it now looks likely that we’ll have to double up with the seniors again at a larger venue, thus ensuring that Kerry will, like today, enjoy more support than our lads will.

We had good vocal support there today but Kerry also brought a decent enough following with them even if the sub-40,000 crowd was still poor enough for an All-Ireland semi-final. I’ve far less to say about the senior match, for the simple reason that I left before the end. I’d found the second half utterly painful to watch, with Cork a pathetic rabble who were totally incapable of taking the game to Kerry. Aidan O’Mahony’s disgraceful play-acting to get Donncha O’Connor sent off epitomised a mean-minded, nasty contest that was bereft of any skill on either side. When Eoin Brosnan sauntered through with ten minutes to go for an illegally-executed point, taken with the open hand – even the fucking programme (page 61) states clearly that this isn’t allowed – I turned to The Brother and said “I’m done here if you are”. He agreed and so we high-tailed it out in the company of more than a few Corkmen and a few of the Kerry crowd who were convinced – as I was too, I must admit – that the match was well over as a contest.

The roars that erupted from the stadium as we made our way along Clonliffe Road a few minutes later hinted that something was afoot. It wasn’t, however, until we were overtaken by a few Corkmen who were bolting towards Meagher’s pub, and who breathlessly informed us that Cork had scored two late goals, that we realised we’d just missed the comeback of the decade. At least we had the excuse that we were neutrals but the Cork lads were understandably embarrassed at having abandoned their team before the fun had started in earnest inside.

Having seen it all since on the box, I’m still stunned they pulled it off, as their performance up till then was the most inept Croke Park display I’d seen since … well, since the performance from that bollix of a referee in the minor game and, before that, Cork’s display in last year’s All-Ireland final. Kerry should still win the replay but this year’s championship has been anything but predictable up till now and so it’d be unwise to rule out another shock next weekend. Our minors should win next weekend too and if they do, it won’t, after today’s stirring performance, be regarded as any kind of surprise result.

Comments

  1. thought we had some very poor shot selections at times though Willie Joe….some very bad wides but all in all I was delighted at the way we took the wheels off the Kerry conveyor belt….

    nice to see a sizeable mayo crew up as well…..had a good few kerry eejits around me unfortunately….if she said “pass it to your friend” during the senior match one more time…GRRRRRR!!

  2. Willie Joe says:

    The shooting was bad enough, alright – thirteen wides in all and it’s such a pity we didn’t nick it from them as this is a highly-rated Kerry team. Hopefully we can finish the job next weekend.

  3. Has to be said we contributed to our own downfall here. This Mayo team did enough around the field to win 3 games 10 times over, yet once again we conspired not to win. Very frustrating to watch.

    The performance typified Mayo teams over the last 20 years, more than good enough to win (and win well at that) and yet not managing to get over the line in the end.

    In fairness to the team they played very well and it’s very encouraging for the future. But why did they have to start shooting from crazy angles in the last 10 minutes when the game was there for the taking.

    Lets just hope they go on and give Kerry the hammering they should have got today in the replay.

    It must be said the ref was abysmal. He did us no favours; especially with the soft frees at the end. However, I cannot remember a game I’ve been to this year that I thought the referee had a good game. The standard of refereeing is just that poor at the moment you come to expect these type of performances. Do the GAA think the paying public are coming to see over officious referees’ slowing down the game at every available opportunity? We should have been so far out the gate at that stage….

  4. Willie Joe says:

    We should certainly have won it, Shane, and hopefully we can finish the job next weekend. Although it was frustrating at times, it was great to see a Mayo team getting really stuck in against Kerry at Croke Park. They showed today that they weren’t afraid to take on the aristocrats and they’ll start the next day knowing that this Kerry team is very beatable.

  5. FlyingDoc says:

    Lads,

    i put a few bets on paddypower online before the match to make it interestin..(was workin half day so couldnt make minor match)
    anyway, put 5 euro each on Masters to score a goal, a penalty top be converted, and for a draw result. All came in within the last 5 minutes! unbelievable..won about 200 out of nothin..pitty i didnt do it as an accumulator..il give ye my predictions for the replay later in the week..!

  6. Willie Joe says:

    Good man, Flying Doc – that counts as a fine day’s work no matter how you cut it!

  7. We will hardly get to run out in croker again this weekend with the other minor game and possibly 2 senior semi finals on the same same day.I would be quite happy to take them on in croker again but Ennis wouldnt phase our boys either, plus we wouldnt be facing a partisan crowd. Of course it shouldnt have come down to a replay but it wont do us any harm and infact it might serve is well if we do make it to the final. the only concern I would have is that we have to dominate possession to win/draw games. Will we be as dominant the next day. Will Walsh be held scorelss again?? I was a little disappointed that orourke and brolly didnt give keane the credit he deserved. It was a masterful performance.He has the makings of a great one for sure. O SHea did well but I would question Dempseys decision to stick him at FF in the second half. He was badly needed around the middle. Having said that Dempsey must be given enormous credit for having the boys in the right frame of mind. We are surviving tight games and this ability to squeeze through is impressive. IF the forwards do happen to click i cant see anyone living with us….

  8. dont get me started on the Aidan O Mahony incident either. Disgraceful. Some hard man!!! More like a cheat. He deserved a girlie slap for the way he was carrying on…the linesman should have given him one as well. How Mahony manages to stay on the field in most games baffles me(Daras luck has run out it would appear).I was sickened to see OConnor sent off for it. Of course it gave Mcquillan the opportunity to level things up. Gaa refs are so predictable. As for the minor ref, those 2 frees were so annoying but we cant blame the ref for this draw. We had enough chances to win the game pulling up.

  9. tommy lyons last night said on the sunday game that only 500 tickets were bought in Mayo….

    now me and numbers were never good companions but I thought there were more than 500 mayo heads there yesterday??

    I have to agree with you as well Willie Joe….while it was frustrating at times to see so many wides, it was nice to see a mayo team stand up to kerry in a big match in Croker…

  10. Willie Joe says:

    I think Tommy Lyons was doing some more of his arse boxing on that one, mayoman, as there was a lot more than 500 Mayo supporters there. It wasn’t as if tickets were scarce for this game so they wouldn’t all necessarily have been bought in Mayo. I’d also reckon that us exiles made up a good proportion of the Mayo crowd.

    Aidan O’Mahony is right up there with Paul Galvin now, isn’t he? I thought the “analysis” on The Sunday Game about the incident was a joke – Pet gave the job to his mate Dara who did the “in all fairness” routine and glossed over O’Mahony’s playacting. Surely O’Mahony should have got a second yellow for his part in that incident? (Remember his first yellow in the first half for a testosterone-fuelled handbags incident where he made a total prat of himself?) He could also have gone right at the end for that crude body check on Graham Canty (that was no dubious penalty decision from what I could see) but, as you’ve said Ted, it was typical GAA refereeing – once he had sent off Dara, every decision, including two soft frees that Sheahan scored, went Kerry’s way.

    It was also strange that Pet didn’t get the lads going about “de dredful shtandard a football” on view but, as someone on gaaboard.com pointed out last night, that one only gets rolled out for the Connacht final. I thought yesterday’s senior match was one of the worst ever exhibitions of gaelic football I’d seen at HQ (but, then again, I did leave before Cork engineered their comeback!)

  11. Couldnt agree with you more WJ. why do they always seem to highlight negative play. are they trying to demote the game instead of promoting it. At the end of the minor game all they did was show the wides we kicked. In fairness to Brolly and o’rourke they tried to talk over the horror wides but it was disappointing not to see one shot of Keane cleaning walsh or the high fielding throughout the game. O Cinneide did gloss over the mahony incident but was up front in his praise of Mayo. its not often you see a kerry man glowing in his praise of a Mayo team. he seemed to genuinely doubt his county’s chances the next day. Tommy lyons also gave us the nod which of course is meaningless. I would be gutted if we loose next week but i dont think that will happen. If we win the next day we would be hot favourites going into the final which would be strange

  12. ontheroad says:

    I wonder why does the Mayo County board sit back and accept all the poor refereeing decisions that go against us. As long as I have watched Mayo I have seen refs give decisions against us that would not be tolerated in Kerry, Dublin, Tyrone , Meath. In the Tyrone match the ref blew up as a Mayo man had the ball thirty yards out and was being fouled in the closing stages. Either it was a free in, a free out or a hop ball. The referee simply took the ball from the Mayo player and blew the game up!!Yet I am stunned that our mentors never utterd a word of condemnation at the poor refereeing. Clare were penalised over their u21 keeper stepping a half yard over the line pucking out a ball in the Munster final, now I know that they still lost the match, however the next ref that takes charge of their match wont shaft them because they kicked up hell. Until we throw our weight around at the top table dont expect the teams that represent us to get fair play. Its just over twenty three years ago since a Mayoman wound up with a fractured jaw in an All ireland semi final. Despite it happening in front of cameras and a crowd odf 65,000 people a verdict of self infliction was more or less returned. Time to stop crawling and kow towing to the so called authorities. if we are robbed then lets raise hell.

  13. Willie Joe says:

    Dara was fulsome in his praise of our lads alright but I thought that, in doing so, he was using the opportunity to give his own countymen a root up the hole (“Kerry legend thrashes Kerry minors on prime time TV”) to spur them on to greater things the next day. As you say, Tommy Lyons is just there to be ignored – where’s Tohill gone this weather? He’s probably the best pundit they have right now.

    I’m with you totally on the question of refs, ontheroad – time after time, we get short-changed and there’s never a peep from us. Ray would have been well within his rights to make the point that those decisions had a huge bearing on the outcome yesterday. I guess though he was happy enough to live to fight another day but I sincerely hope we get a more balanced refereeing performance next weekend.

  14. I’d agree with you about us exiles WJ….I came back up to dub from Gods country early on Sunday and there wasn’t a lot of MO cars on the road…

    you’re right about the sunday game “analysis” of the O’Mahony incident…..I bet if “meat, lout or westmeat” did anything like that, we’d never hear the end of it….load of sh!te…

  15. Willie Joe says:

    It’s a pity as well that our Kev or Tohill weren’t on the panel last night because both of them are well able to lay into Spillane about his one-dimensional views on what’s good and bad in football. Tony Davis or Dara (both of whom are okay) were never going to do the dirt on their own counties whereas Tommy Lyons … well, we’ve said enough about him already. The net result was that the standard of punditry was as poor as the football yesterday.

  16. What impressed me yesterday about the minors was the work rate and committment and excelling at many of the basics that our senior team seemed to lack this year.
    They were first to the ball – defenders in particular.
    They ‘wanted’ the ball, tackling to win the ball- even if the ref didn’t always agree and unfairly judged some of them as frees.
    They played full throttle for the full 60 minutes nearly snatching it at the death.
    They created the chances – even if they didn’t take them they were creating and having a go.
    They were organised and played as a team – credit to players and management.
    They dominated in the key positions i.e. full back, centrefield – a spine down the middle from full back to full forward.

    As already said if they can get the shooting on target they have the rest.

    would have loved to able to write a similar list for the seniors but most of the above was sadly missing.

  17. Willie Joe says:

    Well at least there’s some hope for the future! As I’ve said earlier, it was great to see a Mayo team play without fear at Croke Park, especially against Kerry. Now that the replay’s been fixed for Ennis, I’d be very hopeful that’ll we see them back next month for the final.

  18. innocentbystander says:

    Just on the Brosnan ‘point’- Seamus Gardiner is is 100% correct- the ball may be palmed away in normal play but not for a score. An odd rule though, rarely enforced -similar to the one about hurling keepers taking puckouts from the own small square that caused so much agro recently. I wonder if most club referees know this rule- I doubt it.
    On Aidan O’Mahoneys antics I can only say that O’Connor was a mug to raise his hand to AO’M’s face…he must be kicking himself at his own stupidity. AO’M’s antics could be punished under rule 5.20 ‘To attempt to achieve an advantage by feigning a foul or injury’. Sanction is a yellow card.

    Interesting that there is no mention of sporting or sportmanship in the rules. The following link testifies there’s no plans to bring it in. A pity.

    http://www.gaa.ie/files/football/football_taskforce_proposals1.doc

  19. Willie Joe says:

    It’s a rule they’d need to start enforcing – two of the points Tyrone scored against us were palmed over the bar (that one that McMenamin scored was all but thrown) and Brosnan’s yesterday was such an obviously illegal score.

    O’Connor was very foolish alright to lay a hand on O’Mahony and I think Cork’ll miss him more in the replay than Kerry will Darragh. You’re absolutely right that O’Mahony’s antics could have resulted in a yellow for him but of course the ref didn’t want to send off a second Kerryman. It’s yet another example of refs bottling tough decisions, especially against leading counties.

  20. Just one criticism of our minors, towards the end one of our forwards tried to dribble the ball, I would pull an U12 for doing the same thing, he panicked when he could have got a free, but if he learns from it, then OK.

  21. Willie Joe says:

    We could have done with a bit more calmness near the end, that’s for sure, but I guess they are just minors. It’s a pity we didn’t nick a winner at the death – it sure would have been sweet in front of all that Kerry support!

  22. Ennis is off – match now on in Limerick – don’t know why the change !! A bit closer for the kerry boys to travel !!!!!!

  23. Willie Joe says:

    When did Limerick become half-way between Kerry and Mayo, FFS? It’s as bad as Nenagh was for the U21s earlier this year. I’m now thinking of going so it’s obviously easier for me from up here but it’s a poxy location for anyone travelling from the county. More preferential treatment for Kerry, by the looks of it.

  24. When was the last time that a Mayo or indeed connacht v’s Munster match was played in Connacht, the Rossies had to travel, we have played in ennis and limerick on many occasions (few U21 matches that I seem to recall)….

  25. Willie Joe says:

    I can’t ever recall one, not even one in Pearse Stadium. Ennis seems to have been the default location and, of course, they dragged our U21s to Nenagh to play Kerry earlier this year. What sort of pussies are the County Board to continually put up with this kind of treatment?

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