After hearing Joe Brolly on the Saturday Night Show a few weeks ago on about player burn out and injuries because of over training it made for a fascinating listen and really struck a chord. I’m having my fourth surgery in six years today in the Beacon hospital in Dublin. I put my body through the mill for club and county and played games that I really shouldn’t have, most notably in 1999, when my injury nightmare started.
I needed pain killing injections for every game for Mayo that year. It also ended up being my last year as an inter-county footballer. I had to retire at the tender age of 25. I have gone under the knife on eight occasions in total. For the last four operations I haven’t even been active in competitive sport, but needed the surgery just to get by in everyday life, walking is a struggle at the moment. Surgeons are baffled by my re-occurring condition which is called a “Morton’s Nueroma”. If you Google it you’ll find it’s a condition common in middle aged women who wear tight high heel shoes, so there’s another fetish out in the open, here’s hoping it gets sorted this time.
I would advise any player to listen to their bodies, if you’re not right to play, don’t play!”
Still all to play for in division one
The unpredictability of division one of the national league has certainly made it intriguing for the teams and supporters participating in it. With the exception of Cork every team in the division has had to deal with a mini-crisis at some stage during the campaign where serious questions have been asked about the teams credentials. Mayo have had two such dilemmas, their inability to penetrate Tyrone’s blanket defence and the hiding they received from the Dubs the last time out. The unpredictability is what keeps us interested and going to matches, if every game went as it should, why would we bother?
Tyrone had to respond to stinging criticism after getting a hiding from Monaghan in Omagh in round one. Monaghan were questioned after their indiscipline and subsequent hammering in Castlebar. After two losses and a draw Dublin’s ability was been severely questioned. Rory Gallagher’s Donegal are finding the going tough after successive losses to Kerry and Monaghan and yet they are the only team to beat table toppers Cork while our old nemesis Kerry had to respond in kind after getting hammered by bitter rivals Cork. Derry are the only team who have nothing falling for them and most definitely will get relegated. Anything can happen to the middle six in division one.
Mayo will be looking for a response in Cork on Sunday but somehow I think it’s the final league game against Donegal that will decide Mayo’s fate. Cork have had to endure three long away trips to Ulster teams in the league so far and will cherish their last home tie against a team that will be lacking in confidence after getting a trimming from Dublin. The big ask for Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly is to reignite their team’s confidence for the daunting trip on Sunday.
We all know Mayo have the players, it’s just to get them playing again; they look a little flat and jaded maybe on the back of four long years under the Horan regime. Cork have scored 1-15 against Dublin and 3-17 against Kerry in their two league games in Park Ui Rinn which makes it a big ask for a Mayo team that conceded 2-12 from open play against Dublin (2-18 in total ). Mayo’s selection will be interesting. There are a lot of players carrying knocks. The last time we played Cork, in the Quarter final last year they adopted a new tactic of having 13 men behind the ball. I feel on Sunday they will fancy a shoot out. Not so long ago we had a wealth of midfield cover, six very capable players at one stage but that list seems to have diminished. Tom Parsons is fit again and rearing to go so I’d like to see him get a run against Cork. He may just as Seamie O’Shea is on the treatment table. Mayo have responded to criticism before, can they do it again? Cork’s standing at the top of the league and near certain qualification may offer some form of hope in terms of complacency. I somehow think we may have to wait for the Donegal game to get the wagon rolling again.
U21’s fall short again
The long drought continues for our u21 side who lost at the semi-final stage last Saturday evening against Galway, Damien Comer was on fire for the Tribesmen. A home win against Leitrim all to show for two years of graft which really isn’t good enough for a Mayo team. This latest set back is a year after getting humiliated by Roscommon losing by 11 points in 2014. Mayo have not been in a Connacht u21 final since 2009 which is far too long. Galway and Roscommon have completely dominated this competition since then. A year is a long time in sport so next year has to be the year the drought ends as our All-Ireland winning minor team of two years ago will have reached that age level. Galway and Roscommon will certainly have other ideas.