It was double heartbreak for Mayo's senior football teams after last weekend as our ladies fell at the final hurdle to Dublin in the LGFA final last Sunday in Croke Park. This was a keenly contested game for long periods however three yellow cards over the duration of the game, at one stage leaving Mayo down to 13 players, proved to be the telling factor as Mayo were literally out on their feet at the full time whistle.
Dublin were full value for their win no question, some wayward shooting by the Dubs, the width of the post, and a penalty save from stand in keeper Aisling Tarpey kept Mayo in the game running into the latter stages as Dublin squandered chance after chance. Mayo had to work tirelessly to create chances as the mean Dublin defence set about frustrating Mayo's attack, sometimes quadrupling their markers on Mayo danger woman Cora Staunton. Mayo's high first half wide count attributed to the pressure they were put under by a well drilled Dublin defence. Such was Dublin’s dominance defensively I do not recall any Mayo player having a shot in anger to make the Dublin keeper earn her crust.
It was a sad end to a season that promised so much, especially after beating seven-in-a-row chasing Cork in the semifinal. Dublin's late flurry of goals was hard to take but probably a fair reflection considering the number of chances they created. Credit again must be given to the huge Mayo support who turned up in their droves to cheer the team on. Sunday's record crowd of 46,286 made ladies final day in Croke Park the most attended ladies sporting event in Europe in 2017. Well done to the girls and management for giving us another season to remember.
Men's final fallout still going on
The fallout from the men's final looks likely to continue for a little while with some quarters looking for bans to be thrown at Lee Keegan and Cormac Costello for what has now been dubbed “GPS gate” and “Tee kicking gate” I find it astonishing that former Dublin player Charlie Redmond has weighed in with his opinion on the Lee Keegan incident. Charlie was also part of the Lee Keegan witch hunt before last year's All-Ireland final replay in a coordinated attack by former Dublin players which ultimately led to Lee Keegan's black card in that replay.
What Keegan and Costello did was not very sportsman like, I accept that, but when you are in a situation like they were you would do anything to win. It was a complete act of desperation on Keegan's part and I have to say I marvelled at its inventiveness. How he even thought of throwing his GPS tracker simply amazes me. If a Dublin player had done the same to Cillian O'Connor and Mayo had gone on to win the game I'd feel the exact same way. I would have applauded his desperation to do whatever it took. Let's face it, Costello's actions seemed to have had a much more telling effect than Keegan's as David Clarke struggled with two kick outs in the dying moments of the game. The most bizarre part is that Dublin won the game yet some Dubs were highlighting #thingsleedid in an attempt to get the 2016 player of the year a suspension. If Mayo had won the game it would not have bothered me if Cormac Costello tried to run off with my wife, I emphasise the word 'tried'. I have heard of sore losers but sore winners is taking it to a new level. Leave them both alone, the game is over. The result will not change. The powers that be have made their decisions on all the incidents, so it is time to leave it be.
Great to see individual recognition to deserving players
It is only a small consolation to the players but congrats to Mayo's 12 All-Star nominees. A case can be made for every single one of them making this year's team, meaning there are going to be some very disappointed Mayo players on All-Star night. If I was part of the judging panel the entire team would be picked from Mayo and Dublin with maybe the exception of Paul Geaney from Kerry. The decision to nominate Stephen Cluxton and David Clarke for the player of the year is a little absurd. It will be the first and only time in history a player of the year nomination does not actually receive an All-Star. I wonder how the third goalkeeper nominee, Tyrone's Niall Morgan, feels about his chances of winning the goal keeper's jersey on this year's team. It is a proper insult to him. There will be calls for a Tyrone player to make the final 15 after their Ulster title win and dismantling of Armagh in the quarterfinal but they were all over the place against Dublin. Tiernan McCann and Colm Cavanagh seem to be the most likely candidates but could you really leave out Jack McCaffrey, Colm Boyle, or Lee Keegan to name but three from the half back line for McCann? My own club mate Tom Parsons and Dublin’s James McCarty seem nailed on for the two midfield spots so Cavanagh surely cannot get in there. It is a no brainer for me but sometimes strange decision are made.