Off-the-field shenanigans have yet again catapulted Mayo GAA into the headlines and yet again for all the wrong reasons.
We really are the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to controversy. Our critics - of which there are plenty - are having a field day at our expense and it's not for the first time. We have become somewhat of a laughing stock because of the way our dirty linen is being aired in public.
There is too much gory detail to go into the ins and outs of who/what is right and who/what is wrong in this latest fiasco but it's time to paraphrase my fellow Charlestown man John Healy - 'someone shouted stop'.
Every day something new arises that paints Mayo GAA in a poor light This mess and embarrassment needs to be sorted as a matter of urgency. The players and management have worked too hard over the last number of years to bring us to where we are, to just throw it all away because of off-the-field controversies. Anyone who thinks what happens off the field doesn't affect what happens on the field is grossly mistaken - because it does and it will.
A mediator of some form needs to be approached to liaise between both parties in this latest row over the governance of Mayo GAA accounts, before it gets even further out of hand. Some of the stuff I've been reading between a Mayo GAA supporters group and the county board should not be made public. Has Tim O Leary (Chairman of the group ) and the Mayo GAA International Supporters Foundation a right to know every little dealing that the county board are involved in? Absolutely not, unless that was previously agreed with them.
Has he a right to know how money he is handing over to them has been spent or how money he plans to give them is going to be spent? Absolutely, yes. Nobody hands over large sums of money unless they are satisfied it is going to be used wisely. A person that is able to generate such huge funds for the Mayo GAA cause should be kept on board, kept sweet if you like and respected, but also informed behind closed doors as to how involved he can become. The delay in responding to his concerns and questions that he requested answers to, as chairperson of the foundation, (which he set up ), has only gone and made things worse. Someone please take the bull by the horns and get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet.
Underdogs and old legends
Mayo got the job done against the underdogs last weekend in what was a very underwhelming encounter. Mayo lined out with a bit-part team, mainly due to Lee Keegan's wedding which also took place last weekend. I think the highlight for most Mayo folk however was the under card, where some former team mates donned a green and red jersey to honour former Mayo coach, John Morrison, who passed away suddenly earlier this year. The likes of Ciaran McDonald, David Heaney, David Brady and the Mortimers were all on show to remind us of times past. It was a great occasion to see the boys on the pitch again.
All Star time coming around again
Paddy Durcan should be set to claim his first All-Star award at Friday evening's banquet. Durcan's ability to snuff out the opponents' danger men and contribute handsomely to the score board, were a feature of his stellar performances throughout Mayo’s 2019 campaign. I have no doubt Colm Boyle's name would have been discussed at length by the judging panel but I feel another Dublin player will make up the half back line with Durcan and Jack McCaffrey.
The All Star team of course will be Dublin dominated and correctly so, after their history-making five in a row. The big question for the Dubs' is which of them are going to be left out. For what it's worth, here is the team I think will be selected: (1 ) Stephen Cluxton (2 ) Michael Fitzsimons (3 ) Ronan McNamee (4 ) Tom O'Sullivan (5 ) Jack McCaffrey (6 ) James McCarty (7 ) Paddy Durcan (8 ) David Moran (9 ) Brian Fenton (10 ) Con O'Callaghan (11 ) Sean O'Shea (12 ) Ciaran Kilkenny (13 ) Paul Mannion (14 ) Cathal McShane (15 ) David Clifford. The players that may feel hard done by are Colm Boyle, Brian Howard, Michael Murphy and Stephen O'Brien. Brian Fenton can count himself lucky if selected, after not living up to his very high reputation in both of this year's All-Ireland finals. He played his best game against us in the semi-final. What a record he has. Playing for Dublin for five years, five Celtic crosses and never having experienced losing a championship match. That's some going. The number six slot is not a certainty and there is almost always a curve ball from the selection committee - lets hope it's Boyler this year.
Tubber back in action
Ballintubber should have little or no trouble seeing off the challenge of Leitrim champions Glencar- Manorhamilton in the Connaught club championship on Sunday in MacHale Park. They almost got caught by Sligo champions Tourlestrane last year. That fright should eradicate any form of complacency this time around. I expect them to win handsomely.