BREAKING BALL: “Same old story for Mayo”

Columnist Manus Boyl


Columnist Manus Boyl

BREAKING BALL: “Same old story for Mayo”
I have no doubt that Mayo people all over the world are getting fed up with hearing the usual one-liners after another All-Ireland final defeat.

I have no doubt that Mayo people all over the world are getting fed up with hearing the usual one-liners after another All-Ireland final defeat.

“There’s always next year,” or “the lads gave it their all but it wasn’t their day,” or “on the day we didn’t play as well as we are capable of.”

Same old story .

Mayo were well beaten by Donegal in 2012 and on the day we were simply just better overall.

We started the game better with two goals in the first 11 minutes and we closed the game down when we needed to and on the day our best players came up with the goods.

That’s what takes you over the line, plus, there’s that bit of luck that no one wins anything without.

While Dublin will take all the plaudits, they came out on top on the day but were certainly nowhere near their best last Sunday.

Mayo started the game with a calmness that they lacked 12 months earlier.

They had chances to go four, maybe five points ahead, their goalkeeper Rob Hennelly pulled off two brilliant saves to deny Dublin certain goals in the first half .

Mayo went in at half-time in the lead, 0-8 to 1-4, but you knew they just didn’t believe that they could do it.

I have no doubt that James Horan and his selectors had all the best people speaking to the panel since their win over Tyrone.

It’s a pity for the manager and players who have given a huge commitment and service to their county.

However, pity gets you nothing. Mayo looked like a team going into the game hoping that this was their year.

Dublin, on the other hand, came out in the second half looking like a team that was destined to win and that was the difference in the end.

Jim Gavin set out his stall at the start of the year. Dublin went at the Allianz League not only to blood new players but also to win it.

Gavin used all his subs in nearly every game and he certainly had no problem taking off any player, regardless of his status with the media or the supporters.

It was about the panel and, above all, reaching what he saw has their potential.

Dublin were extremely fit, attacked in numbers and defended in numbers when they needed to.

They were certainly the best team this year but what was built up as one of the great footballing finals did not come to fruition.

This wasn’t the spectacle that everyone thought it was going to be, with some extremely poor fist passes, bad shot choice and both teams were guilty of dropping shots into the goalkeepers’ hands.

The final was full of players losing position and giving up a lot of cheap ball.

Mayo should have stuck to the sweeper system that they employed during the earlier rounds.

Maybe they read a bit to much into beating Donegal and Tyrone, who were nowhere near their best this year.

On the coverage of the game, when Dublin resorted to making sure that Mayo were not allowed to build up the play by pulling down the Mayo attackers, just like Sean Cavanagh was lambasted for a number of weeks ago, not a word was said.

It was considered to be just part and parcel of the game - different strokes for different folks I guess.

Being in Dublin for the game the scarcity of tickets was a major talking point.

There were rumours of a pair of tickets being sold for over €2,000 on eBay.

I doubt if this is the path that those who are in charge and run our games want to take.

I can make no sense of the system that is in place for the ticket allocation for the All-Ireland finals.

The teams that get there don’t even get 50 per cent of the tickets.

We have members of the association who sit on committees getting multiples of tickets.

I spoke to several ex-Mayo and Dublin players who found it impossible to get their hands on a few.

I know it’s tradition to send out tickets to every club in the country but I think it’s time that we take a broader view of that arrangement.

As the dust settles and the rumours start to come out of who will join Jim McGuinness’s management team, it would be fair to say that Rory Gallagher, Maxi Curran and Francie Friel’s departures took most people by surprise.

Football or any other sport is about opinions and more often than not people disagree and fall out.

What makes this more difficult to understand was that I would have thought that most of the issues relating to our performances last year would have been discussed at length long before McGuinness went to the clubs about his plans for next year.

What I also find interesting is that part of the problem was issues that arose last year and there was blame being proportioned.

I thought when Kevin Cassidy was left out it was because he broke the rules of the panel, if you said something about one you said it about all.

When we won the All Ireland we heaped praise on everyone within the panel, both players and management.

When I hear people are blaming one another then maybe it’s time for change. Perhaps the bond as been broken, where as a group you win together and you lose together. One for all and all for one.