‘New York State of Mind’

We will start this week back at last weeks column. I cannot believe a story written in my column last week got so much national attention. It was liked by almost one thousand people on hoganstand.com, it has been discussed on Newstalk I am told, and has been retweeted by several players including Colm Parkinson, the former Laois star. Lots of footballers were tagged to the article on Facebook as it reminded so many of players who would not take no for an answer when told they were not part of a panel. I did not see that coming.

By the time you are reading this I will be in New York for the first round of the Connacht Football Championship and I have to say I am really looking forward to broadcasting live from Gaelic Park. Mayo are literally going into the unknown against New York but I can guarantee that they will win by 20 points or more.

James Horan could well use this as a bonding weekend and allow the players to let their hair down. I know the panel prepare meticulously for every game but the regimental approach could be ignored this time, not the night before the game however. It will be a classic case of Mayo winning by too much and everyone lambasting New York’s involvement in the championship or Mayo not winning by enough against the proverbal whipping boys and rumours spreading that there is unrest in the camp, whatever the result the critics will be out in force.

New York have recruited players like Ross Wherity of Donegal and Nicky Joyce of Galway but they will be no use to the much superior and better prepared Mayo team. I have to say it is only when you retire from football that you cherish trips like this. It is a brilliant opportunity for players to see the city that never sleeps and I am sure there will be a few who wish they were on the plane. I would imagine there are lots of the current panel who will be making their maiden voyage to the Big Apple and for that reason you have to be grateful for what you can get from being an inter-county GAA player. The last time I visited New York was in 2000 when I went out to play a few games for the Mayo club, and to say I regretted not doing enough is an understatement. If there was a quiz on drinking houses in Yonkers’s and Manhattan I would have won it hands down. I plan on seeing an attraction or two this time around.

Rossies give us a peek

Last weekend saw a feast of football played at Croke Park. It was a great chance for us to see what to expect ahead of Mayo’s probable visit to Hyde Park on June 8. Roscommon were not at the races in their game against Cavan for the first 20 minutes or so, and a penalty save by the Rossie net minder inspired them to a well deserved victory. I did not see a lot to scare me however but in Seanie McDermott Roscommon have a really good corner back very much in the Kenneth Mortimer mould. He is very comfortable on the ball and spots danger from a mile away and uses his pace brilliantly to curb the threat, but good corner backs are not enough to win games on their own. Donegal certainly do not look like the team they were. They have 11 or 12 great players but to win big matches you need 20 and the talent simply is not there. Monaghan on the other hand will be relishing another crack at repeating last year’s feat of winning the Ulster title at the very least. From a division one point of view I am now glad Derry beat Mayo in the semi-final as I would not have been able to endure what the Dubs might have done to the Green and Red. It is a little frightening what they can do to teams, they are so well versed in everything they do and operate like a well oiled machine and quite simply they have an exceptional team. To dish out a 16 point hiding in a national final is not expected anymore and this was the Derry team who beat them by six points four short weeks ago.

Bad timing

I have been a season ticket holder at Manchester United for the last six years and have to admit I had a little chuckle last Friday when my renewal form arrived in the post with a letter in a booklet from manager David Moyes urging fans to renew their tickets and promising a better season in 14/15. The only problem with this was Moyes had been sacked the previous Tuesday which makes it bizarre that this could happen to “the biggest club in the world”, bad timing or what. I have no doubt the hierarchy at Old Trafford are expecting a mass exodus of supporters as I had five phone calls in one day about my season ticket, to say I was fed up answering these calls is an understatement so when the last girl called I told her David Moyes was my uncle and I was a little upset at the way he was treated, the silence was deathly and they have not rung back since.

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