It’s a bit like Newton’s third law of motion right now with the whole Leemuid business. Unveiled as a fairly shabby and transparent attempt to blacken our man’s reputation, Dublin’s amateur hour effort at dirty tricks has over the last 24 hours produced a strong and vociferous reaction from our side of the fence. Better still, their tactics have now become the butt of scorn and derision into the bargain.
The tipping point – the moment this whole thing reached jump the shark levels – came when Ger Brennan was wheeled out to add to the anti-Lee chorus. Who on earth could have thought it was a good idea to send out a Dublin player so well acquainted with being on the receiving end of red cards to bat on this issue? Well, some genius clearly did and the result was, as you’d expect, all a bit comical – report in today’s Irish Examiner here.
It was Tony Leen, by the way, in the same paper who yesterday became the first national journalist to call out the Dublin dirty tricks department on this issue and he did so in no uncertain terms:
This Dubs bellowing (hardly whispering at this stage) into Maurice Deegan’s ear to watch way Lee Keegan “battles” with Connolly is laughable
— Tony Leen (@tonyleen) September 27, 2016
Add to the rising hilarity from our standpoint, the
Irish Dublin Independent had a cry-baby piece this morning quoting those Hill 16 “Army” numb-nuts who apparently can’t get their hands on tickets for Saturday. A guy described as their “group founder” – which means he set up the social media accounts – reckons our lot are only trying to get our hands on Hill tickets “to spite” the opposition. Didn’t you hear, lads – Hill 16 isn’t Dublin olny? Truly, you couldn’t make this stuff up.
There’s been plenty of stuff being made up all over the place today on the #ThingsLeeDid hashtag on Twitter. I generally recoil from “let’s get this trending” campaigns but I’m prepared to make an exception this once. If you need a belly-laugh, this is the place to head to – piece about it on Sports Joe here.
On the more serious side of things, it’s good to see that there have been plenty of solid contributions inside the last 24 hours aimed at bringing some much-needed balance to the Leemuid debate. What’s good about these is that not only do they nail the lies being put about by the opposition they also aim to introduce a bit of reason to the discussion.
Edwin McGreal in the Mayo News (here) goes behind the on-field story to show that there’s more to this mano a mano than is seen out on the pitch at Croke Park. Ed says that this duel is one that really should be savoured, a point that Ger Cafferkey, interviewed by Donnchadh Boyle in today’s Indo (a rare instance of balance from that organ), also emphasises in defending his team-mate’s reputation.
Enda Varley, speaking to the Irish Mirror, does likewise, with some bonus laughs courtesy of a re-run of that Ger Brennan intervention covered in that one too. Meanwhile John Casey, speaking on the Hard Shoulder podcast for Balls.ie, launches a strong defence of the “phenomenal” Westport player, stating that Lee “certainly doesn’t have a dirty streak. He has an aggressive, winning mentality.”
Okay, I think the message should have got through at this stage. We’ve had the ham-fisted, bungling character assassination job – one that a proud, successful county like Dublin should really and truly be ashamed of – and now we’ve had a fairly candid and forthright retort from our side of the ditch.
I know that serious consideration was given to an official Mayo GAA media response on this issue. I understand the view has now been taken – correctly in my opinion – that what’s already been said, in particular over the last 24 hours, across traditional and social media platforms constitutes sufficient rebuttal to the amateurish and poorly executed smear campaign waged by the other side. It really is time to put this one to bed, I reckon, so we can focus on the game.
To get you in the mood on that front, there’s some good stuff in today’s papers. Mike Quirke in the Irish Examiner has a super piece about Donie Buckley, the Kerryman in our corner, without whose involvement I doubt very much these great times would have been anything like as good as they have been.
Over in the Irish Times, Malachy Clerkin has a sobering piece on all those stupid goals we’ve conceded in big matches since 2012. Malachy zeroes in on the majors we’ve coughed up in semi-finals and finals over this time period and one can only wince at the list. Darragh Ó Sé’s column in the same paper is also out today but it’s sitting behind that pesky paywall so I can’t, I’m afraid, say anything about that one.
To finish up instead, Colm Parkinson’s piece on Sports Joe yesterday (here) is worth a look. He talks about what it feels like to have been in the position – as Laois were in 2004 – of having not played at the optimum level in a major drawn game (the example he references is the Leinster final that year against Westmeath) and how they proved unable to hit the required heights again in the replay, which the Lake County, with Páidí Ó Sé at the helm, famously won.
That’s your lot for now. Keep chuckling, people. And remember: Lee’s got it.
Not got a ticket yet? There’s one last and final chance to do so in the Mayo GAA Players Welfare Lotto, with six tickets up for grabs in Friday evening’s draw. Play the Lotto here.