It was not easy to get any work done around the house last weekend because of the feast of sport on TV. I have to compliment our terrestrial TV stations for the great coverage of both football and hurling games at this time of the year. They had TV cameras covering 13 championship matches last weekend which is quite incredible.
In particular, I was interested to see how near neighbours Galway would recover from their disappointing defeat to Sligo, so I tuned into their game against Wexford last Saturday. For some strange reason, Pearse Stadium does not ever light my fire as a venue for matches and I do not think it does for Galway teams either. It never seems to generate any real atmosphere and with a small crowd turning out to watch last weekend’s game, the occasion had an eerie feel to it. Wexford just about deserved their one point victory over their more fancied opponents which brought the curtain down on what has been a disappointing year for all involved with Galway football. The defeat throws the spotlight onto their much vaunted manager, Joe Kernan, and those who were responsible for bringing him to Galway. Those moments in the immediate aftermath of a disappointing defeat are always difficult for a manager. There is no hiding place on the side line and I am sure Joe Kernan, looking shocked and disappointed, must have wondered how he ever allowed himself to be in such a situation. This most definitely was not part of the script and he now has a big decision to make… should he stay or should he go? In fact that decision may not be his alone, as the Galway Football Board may be forced to nominate one of their own and begin a rebuilding process. The reality is that this Galway team are a very ordinary side indeed and like us here in Mayo, new faces are required to freshen things up.
‘Louth were the legitimate winners’
The big football match of the weekend was undoubtedly the Leinster final. No need to go into the detail here, but I genuinely felt it would have been appropriate for Meath to have at least granted a replay to Louth who were chasing their first Leinster title in 50 years. The Wee County were in fairyland, appearing in their first final in decades and when have we ever witnessed a goal being scored like the illegal one that Joe Sheridan dived over the line with last Sunday? In fact my first reaction was that there shouldn’t be a replay at all. Louth were the legitimate winners. I thought the Leinster Council would have ‘cooperated’ with Meath to ensure a replay was granted in these exceptional circumstances. Forty-five thousand paying customers at a replay tomorrow would have guaranteed a terrific atmosphere, not to mention gate receipts of €600,000. If Meath were prepared to negotiate with the Leinster Council for a small slice of that cake for a player holiday fund, then I can see no reason why the game could not have been replayed. And to be honest I feel that Meath would have beaten Louth had a replay been allowed. I am beginning to wonder if Meath had the call on the outcome of this decision.
Micko for manager?
There is little to report on the local front regarding the appointment of a new football manager. There is a certain amount of speculation regarding a number of potential candidates, but nothing of any significance has been decided as the County Board chairman is currently on holiday. In fact it is not a bad time for him to be away as he is currently suspended for one month due to some sort of altercation with the referee in Pearse Park, after Mayo’s shock defeat to Longford. A number of people have suggested to me that Micko might be the man to step into Johnno’s shoes, but I would be very surprised to see the County Board heading south at this juncture. No, I would safely predict that the man (I am assuming it will be a man ) will be from within the county boundaries.