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You don't often hear an inter-county manager saying it was the wrong decision taking on the job, or it was wrong that they were offered the job in the first place. But Pat Holmes did admit last Saturday night that when he was appointed Mayo manager for the first time in 1999 it probably wasn't the right choice by him to take it on or for the county board to offer it to him.
Mayo head to Croke Park on Sunday for their fourth All Ireland quarter-final on the bounce since James Horan first took charge of the side. An achievement that any inter-county manager would be proud of, but in Mayo all that matters to some supporters is getting over the finishing line in first place in late September.
Westmeath footballers got their 2013 season off on the right note with a comfortable win over Athlone IT in Hogan Park, Moate last Sunday. While the O’Byrne Cup is far from the Holy Grail, it is still a worthwhile competition for blooding new talent and an opportunity for more established players to shed the winter cobwebs.
I got a text last Sunday morning suggesting that Sunday’s result would be dictated by the free takers on either side because of the atrocious conditions. After our failure in this particular department in our two opening games of this year’s championship, I wasn’t exactly buzzing with confidence that we would win the match if it was to be decided in this way. But ultimately it was a very significant reason why Mayo were crowned champions last weekend. Mayo management passed the responsibility of free taking onto the young shoulders of Cillian O’ Connor. He was coolness personified throughout as he kicked eight out of nine frees in the match. Donie Shine on the other hand missed two crucial ones that could possibly have seen his team over the line.
Pat Flanagan has been appointed interim Westmeath manager following Brendan Hackett’s resignation last weekend. The Clara native will take charge until the end of this year when the position of manager will then be reviewed. The county board were quick to act to fill the void given that we are only weeks away from our opening championship game.
Another league campaign over. Another relegation confirmed. Division one in 2009 to division three in 2011. The Irish housing market hasn’t slid as quickly or as far as the fortunes of our county footballers. It is now 14 league outings in a row without a win. Kilkenny are the only other team in the entire league not to have collected any points. A dismal points difference of -52 to boot.
Liam Sammon owes Galway football nothing. That fact is crystal clear. On the contrary, he has given the county wonderful commitment and service over the past 40 years in various different roles, and hopefully he will continue to do so for another decade in a coaching capacity.