Photo: Irish Examiner/Sportsfile
Monday morning, all the kids now back at school and with the Dubs out as well as us it’s going to be a quiet enough September football-wise up here. Until Donegal and Kerry show up later in the month, I guess.
I’m not going to do the usual post-match trawl of the papers for match reports and quotes. I can’t face it and I know you can’t either. I will, of course, gather them all up and stick them in the results archive (when I’ve the 2014 set completed and tidied up this makes 113 years of results that are but a click away) but that’s not a job for today.
I did have a peek at the papers, of course, but only a quick one and I’m not going to dwell on them, but for one piece that is maybe worth a read. Steve in the comments says keep clear of Eugene McGee’s baffling take on the game in the Irish Independent – I agree, I don’t know what match he was at but it wasn’t the one in Limerick. Likewise, Kerryman John O’Keeffe in the Irish Times who manages to avoid any mention of the ref in his ‘analysis’. The article that is worthy of mention, though is John Bannon’s assessment of the ref in the Irish Examiner.
I was never a fan of Bannon when he was on the field but his Monday pieces on how the weekend’s big matches were reffed always makes for interesting reading. He often highlights mistakes made by officials but I’ve never seen him tear a ref’s performance to shreds in the way he does in his damning assessment of Reilly’s handling of Saturday evening’s match. The catalogue of blunders he lists is even worse than I’d imagined it to be on the night and it’s confirmation that we were, pardon the pun, royally screwed by the Meath official. I know it’s of little use to us now but the least the County Board should do is to lodge an official complaint and demand that this incompetent clown be taken off the inter-county roster with immediate effect.
Reilly’s riding of us has one further use. It’s now abundantly clear that this was the decisive factor in Saturday night’s extra-time defeat. Sure, losing centrefield and our inability to keep a lid on Donaghy didn’t help but many matches are won by teams ceding advantage in the middle and our ability to score heavily largely negated the damage being done at our end. With this in mind – and bearing in mind too Donegal’s spectacular upsetting of Dublin’s applecart yesterday – we need to bottle all this hurt and unleash it with venom next year. With a fair ref, I’d fancy our chances against anyone then.
Who’ll be leading us into battle in 2015 is now the issue and Kevin McStay was quickly out of the traps last night to stake his claim. He could have chosen to deflect the mumbly question directed to him on The Sunday Game but instead dealt with it head-on by admitting his interest in the job. He won’t be the only candidate for it – Cliona Foley in today’s Indo gives a list of the names being mentioned and the bookies have provided a shortlist this morning too – but he is a credible one and if we stay within the county for this appointment, which I think we should, he’ll definitely be one of the leading contenders.
I guess we’ll get some clarity over the coming days about how long this process will take. James Horan was appointed at the end of September back in 2010 and you’d have to think that whomever we pick this time would need to be in the saddle by around the same time this year. So, even though our championship hopes for 2014 are now sadly over, an interesting month in Mayo GAA circles nonetheless lies ahead.