All calmed down now are we? All those frustrations that just had to be got out after the match last night safely flushed through the system? Good, because now it’s my turn for a rant.
It would have been nice to focus on the aftermath of the game – I recorded the re-run of it on TG4 earlier on and might even sit down in a bit to watch it again – and pick up on a few of the talking points but what’s been going on here over the last 24 hours means that I’ve more pressing fish to fry.
Before doing so, though, it seems that last night’s reffing has come under the spotlight, with James Horan providing a less than ringing endorsement of Cormac Reilly’s officiating. Indeed, one of the reasons I wouldn’t mind watching the game again is to have a good look at this because, from my vantage point over near the Hill in the Lower Cusack, I didn’t think we were all that hard done by in that department.
Sure, it seemed like it took an awful lot of fouling for us to get frees awarded to us at times and there were incidents, such as the way Aidan O’Shea got poleaxed in the first half and Diarmuid Connolly’s drag-down on Kevin McLoughlin that might have merited black card punishments, but I thought that overall we got a reasonably fair shake from the ref. Colm Boyle’s black card was absolutely correct, Cluxton’s red equally so (that was one I felt he might bottle but fair play to him he didn’t) and so too was his decision to disallow Jason Doherty’s goal for an illegal pick-up.
The other thing to note from last night’s match and the rest of the weekend’s action is that our ability to make the league semi-finals now rests squarely in our own hands. I don’t expect a Cluxton-less Dublin to get any change from their final away match of the year up in Omagh but even if they do, a win for us will qualify us for the semis. If Tyrone win, the Dubs are out and vice versa – all we have to worry about is our own match against already-qualified Derry.
That ‘in our own hands’ metaphor is relevant, too, for what I want to cover in the remainder of this post, which relates to the tsunami of comments, the vast majority of them negative, a too-large proportion of them nonsensical, which appeared on the site in the hours after last night’s match. The volume was unprecedented – by the time I put up the match report the 100 mark had been passed – but it’s the quality not the quantity I want to address here.
I get it that people were frustrated after last night’s match. I was apoplectic leaving Croke Park and had a good old rant on the walk home but an hour or so later I’d pretty much calmed down. It was a frustrating outcome, for sure, but it’s only March and we’re in a pretty good position after Round 6 of the League.
What I don’t get – and what I cannot accept – is that so many people seem to believe that it’s okay to come on here – and abuse the hospitality afforded to them – and spout all manner of crap in the immediate aftermath of the game. Such as calling a player ‘yellow’, saying that another player ‘wouldn’t make the Galway panel’, labelling another ‘an absolute disaster’, calling (sweet Mother of Jesus, this one I really found hard to believe) for an end to James Horan’s tenure.
There are a number of reasons why I established this site but numbered amongst them was never a yearning desire to give idiots a soap-box to unburden themselves of their frustrations in the brain-dead and hysterical way that so many did last night. In this social media-driven world we live in I know that everyone thinks they have the right to say what they want and when they want and that’s all fine but my message for those of this bent is that the place to do so isn’t here. If, for example, you really want to call for James Horan’s head you’ve all the entitlement in the world to bellow this message as loud as you want on Twitter or share your assessment on why this should happen with your wide circle of friends on Facebook. There is no entitlement for anyone to come on here spouting that kind of shite.
And before anyone starts caterwauling about no criticism being allowed on the site, just take a look at what has been written over the past 24 hours. As I’ve repeatedly said, the house rules allow for critiques of individual players, the team and management but these need to be of a specific nature and should not stray into lazy-minded trash-talking. Many comments posted in the last 24 hours were absolutely fine in this respect but, sadly, most got drowned out by the frenzied wailing of others.
From my perspective, this has now gone on long enough and I’ve allowed far too much latitude to people whom I can now see cannot be trusted to voice opinions in an adult way. Things are, as a result, going to have to change in relation to how the comments section operates.
For starters, I’m going to go back over all those comments made since the Dublin match (which will take me a while to do but I will do it) and delete every one that I consider to have breached the rules in any way. And everyone who has a comment deleted in this way will also as a consequence be turfed into comment moderation until such time as I’m satisfied that they can be trusted not to post anything moronic in the future. If you fall into this category, don’t blame me, blame yourself.
But I know this may not go far enough. One idea I’m thinking of is to force all comments into moderation after the Derry game. I’ll be travelling back to Dublin after that game and so it’d mean a number of hours where everything will be quarantined but maybe that’s no bad thing. Last night showed that too many people were willing to post comments quite literally without thinking about what they were saying. Maybe if those comments go nowhere – perhaps for a few hours, maybe forever – that might help matters. It would, of course, also penalise all those many posters (and there are plenty of them) who provide valuable, thoughtful analysis in the comments after games, which is why I’m not sure I want to go down this road. Desperate times do, however, call for desperate measures.
Inevitably, though, I’m forced back to having to consider whether or not this venture is worth continuing with at all. Should I reserve the comment facility for those whom I can trust will act sensibly? Should I turn it off altogether? Or, maybe, should I throw my hat at the whole damn thing? I really don’t know but what I do know is that another episode like last night’s will be one too many from my point of view. In other words, it’s in your hands what direction this whole initiative goes in from here.