What is it about All Ireland winning managers? Is the stress of the job sucking the enthusiasm and enjoyment out winning? Is the winning of Sam Maguire not a time for unabashed celebration? Last year it was Jim McGuinness seizing the headlines at the post match press conference. On Sunday it was Jim Gavin who let rip at refs who he considers all season have had it in for the Dubs. “Not only were we playing Mayo but we were playing the referee as well. . . We play the game with certain values in the squad and we play the game the way we believe it should be played.”
Tis a pity that in the warm Autumnal afterglow of victory that the manager can’t just focus on the positives rather then dwell on perceived slights. It was he who said before the final: “For me, the most important thing or maybe the most enjoyable, is those few moments you can reflect with the team in the confines of the dressing room in the depths of the stadium afterwards.” Enjoy it Jim, it’s what you’ve put your life on hold for.
The Foul Count
And. . . live from Sesame Street we have the Count: ‘HA Ha ha ha. . . and today’s number is 30 and today’s letter is capital ‘C’ for cynicism.” That’s what the Count thought of Sunday’s game. Do you agree? With all of Dublin’s attacking play they out fouled Mayo by 30 to 12. And the end with the game in the mixer and 13 players on the field, the All Ireland champions did what other teams did all season and disrupted, fouled and delayed Mayo as much as they could to hang on to what they had. Perhaps they learned that from that Tyrone match they played in the league earlier in the year. . . or are we just being cynical.
The 30 Seconds That Were(n’t?)
Not since the assassination of President Kennedy and the Grassy knoll has there been such a conspiracy theory. What did referee Joe McQuillan say to Cillian O’Connor before the fateful free? And where did those 30 seconds go? You wouldn’t see the likes of it in the hurling final. . . . Today in the press the Cavan whistler states unequivocally that he told the player that there was 30 seconds left: “I simply said ‘there’s 30 seconds left’ and that was from the moment he asked me. I said it three times, I’m sure plenty of players heard me and I was on an open mic to all my match officials.” That ends the matter surely. But with twelve Dublin players behind the ball, he wouldn’t have scored a goal anyway. Or would he. . .
The Parade and Other Traditional Routes
Some Mayo people basking in the DTs of defeat have raised the question as to why the Dubs always get to kick in to the Hill 16 end and why they broke away from the pre match parade early. Was it because there were a lot of Mayo folks on the Hill? Well we all remember the last time another team warmed up into the Hill, Pilar Caffrey dozed into John Morrison and Mayo dietician Mary McNicolas was knocked rotten by a flying O’Neills size five. Twas mighty craic for the supporters as seventy or more grown men ran about like kids in a playground. But seriously folks, Croke Park is Dublin’s home patch so surely people should just let them warm up at the Hill 16 end if they want to. If teams aren’t going to observe the tradition of the pre match parade then is it time to get rid?
Osama Bin Laden: ‘My Role in Mayo’s All Ireland’
A videotape has emerged, apparently recorded in a Cave in the Tora Bora in Afghanistan by the late Osama Bin Laden, predicting that Mayo will win Sam Maguire and that all other curses and piseogs are subject to a fatwa. Seriously though, what of Mayo County Council Chairman’s rallying cry ‘America got Bin Laden, Mayo will get Sam Maguire. Is this fair? After all, one is an outfit with extremist fanatical supporters pursuing a series of grievances real and imagined; the other is a former Al Qaeda leader assassinated by the United States. Extremists Abu!