It was announced late last night – as I was headed for my leaba and so hadn’t the necessary inclination to post anything here – that John Maughan had decided not to go forward for interview for the Mayo manager’s job, thus cutting the field to three and, it would appear, making it a racing certainty that Tommy Lyons will now get the job. That may not be the outcome that many supporters would have wished for – he certainly wouldn’t be my choice – but it now seems to be the result that’s going to happen so I suppose we all need to start internalising this outcome.
It’s not at all surprising that John Maughan pulled plant when he did. He’s an army man, after all, and he can spot an ambush far better than us civilians could ever hope to. That interview panel had ‘ambush’ written all over it, especially where the candidacy of John Maughan was concerned. There would have been little point in the big man going through the charade of an interview with that line-up across the table from him and so he’s better off disengaging from the process at this stage.
The question now is which of the three remaining candidates will be put forward for ratification and, from what I understand having spoken to a few people about the whole process, I think it’s very unlikely that James Horan or Tony McGarry are going to be handed the bib. The faction that initially put their weight behind Micko are now, so I gather, squarely behind Lyons and it looks as if the selection committee could well be of the same view, not least given that Lyons is the only remaining candidate with any inter-county management experience under his belt.
Nobody who witnessed our last three pathetic performances at inter-county level (that was Cork in the NFL final, Sligo in Connacht and Longford in the qualifiers in case anyone has wiped their memory banks since then) needs convincing that a completely new direction is needed as regards how we prepare and motivate the county team for competitive matches. Coming out of Pearse Park in Longford that Saturday evening at the end of June, how many of us, I wonder, would have contemplated the idea that Tommy Lyons would be the man we’d turn to in order to get us out of the biggest hole we’ve found ourselves in for over a generation? Well, that appears to be what’s about to happen and, if it does, those of us who look on from the terraces will just have to get used to it.
If Tommy Lyons does get the job, he should, of course, have our full support. Regardless of what one might think of his punditry skills, he does have a respectable CV (albeit one that’s a bit dated in terms of achievements) and I’ve no doubt that he’ll want to do the best possible job for the county in the role. Regardless of what one might think about the machinations of the appointment process, once the damned thing is decided on at least the soap opera will be over and we’ll at last be able to think ahead to next year and, hopefully, some kind of upsurge in our fortunes. We need to see significant improvement from the county team in 2011 and if Tommy Lyons gets the nod next week then he’s the man who is going to have to deliver it for us.