A year of positives for Ladies football
The Roscommon Ladies football team will not want to read this but maybe losing to Meath last Saturday at Dr. Hyde Park will stiffen their resolve to get back on the horse in 2019 and go at least one step further.
Analysis of last Saturday’s semi-final against Meath is futile as Michael Finneran’s team were never in the hunt and there was little that could have been done to change the course of the game. But there are several positives to take out of the year including that Connacht title and those great championship wins against Sligo, Fermanagh, Meath and Laois. The experience gained by Roscommon’s young team will be invaluable going forward and if they can target promotion in the league and another Connacht title for 2019 last Sunday’s game will be long forgotten.
Michael Finneran has done a marvellous job coaching this team and hopefully he will be able to commit to the job again in 2019. Stability is needed as the team progresses.
Just a comment on the day in general at Dr. Hyde Park, I have to say that I was very disappointed with the attendance. In fact, there were probably more at the Roscommon match than any of the three games that were played but there were not much more than 2,000 people there at any stage on Saturday. The All-Ireland champions Dublin were in action as were Cork and all four senior teams draw big crowds to men’s matches so it is a wonder why there were not more people there for such an attractive programme of games.
The LGFA have done a great job in recent years in promoting their games but they have a long way to go in terms of attracting crowds. The coverage of the games by TG4 is superb also but the LGFA should try and move on and try to attract people to go out and watch their games live. They have a great product.
Rochford steps down as Mayo boss
The news that Stephen Rochford has resigned as the Mayo football manager was not entirely a shock as there have been murmurs over the past two months that there were many in the county who were not happy with his stewardship.
Personally, I found him courteous and honest and very good to deal with but given the way Mayo have performed over the past decade, the expectations in the county have gone through the roof and nothing less than getting to the All-Ireland final is good enough now. It is very unfair on players and management, and whoever takes over will have an almost impossible job.
James Horan might have another go at it and Jimmy McGuinness will be mentioned too. I also hear that Kevin McStay is being talked about as well. I haven’t spoken to Kevin for the past few weeks but I would be very surprised if he were to go back to his native county.
I wonder if there has been any player input into Rochford’s decision to go given what has happened in the past? If that’s the case it would be bizarre as it was the players who wanted Rochford in the first place. It’s a bit of a mess to be honest.
Mourinho to be shown the door!
Hopefully Manchester United’s hammering at the hands of Spurs on Monday night will see the back of José Mourinho. His conduct has been disgraceful over the past few weeks as the team has fallen apart.
Yes, the defence is a disaster, but further up the field there are players who cost hundreds of millions of pounds who are simply not playing for the manager: Sanchez, Rashford, Martial, Pogba, Fred and Lukaku have been abysmal.
Mourinho went to a half-full Stretford End after the Spurs match and sarcastically clapped his hands at the supporters, and then later at the press conference he stormed out after shouting at journalists that they had no respect for him. He has lost the plot to be honest. There was a time when he was the best manager in the world. Now he is yesterday’s man. I thought he was the right appointment for United at the time. How wrong I was. Close the door on the way out José!
Best wishes to Diarmuid and Frankie!
My best wishes to two well-known GAA stalwarts who have had operations in the past week. Diarmuid Murtagh had a procedure on his eye at the end of last week and he will be out of action for a while as a result. He sustained the injury when he was accidentally struck by a ball while training for Roscommon for the recent game against Dublin.
St. Brigid’s’ manager and former star Frankie Dolan had an operation on his nose last week too and could only watch the weekend match between Brigid’s and Western Gaels from a car in Athleague. The injury came from a broken nose he sustained a number of years ago when he was playing football. It shows that football at the top level is not all plain sailing. I understand that both men will make a full recovery and I wish them well.
Local club scene ramps up
The local GAA scene will roar back into action once the All-Ireland SFC Final is over and this weekend it’s the hurling semi-finals. The games are previewed elsewhere in the paper this week but hopefully there will be a couple of decent games because the game in the county needs it badly. The championship has been very low key so far with precious little excitement, hopefully that will change on Saturday evening.
There is also a clash between Boyle and Roscommon Gaels in the senior football championship. Indeed, the standard in that competition has been poor enough too but it is now clear that any one of five or six teams have a legitimate claim to win the Fahey Cup this year which should give encouragement to a number of clubs who are playing over the next couple of weekends. It will be interesting to see how the game on Saturday goes. Naturally I will be hoping for a Gaels win but it will be close and it should be well worth a look.
All-Ireland SFC Final
Dublin v Tyrone on Sunday in Croke Park at 3.30 pm
Our final Championship Watch of 2018. Usually I look forward to the All-Ireland SFC final with great anticipation and excitement. I have not missed a decider since I was a child but I am finding it difficult to work up any enthusiasm for this one. The Dubs are going for four in a row which would be an awesome achievement for sure but I wouldn’t be the biggest Dublin fan in the world.
However, I would prefer to see them win rather than Tyrone, who I find so very hard to watch and to listen to as well. Their rise from relative obscurity to one of the elite teams of Gaelic football in the past 15 years is remarkable, but their style of play is so defensive and negative, it makes any possible enjoyment out of watching them impossible.
I hear great noises coming out from Tyrone and some neutrals saying that Mickey Harte’s men have a great chance. I can’t see it. Only twelve short months ago Dublin toyed with Tyrone and sent them packing in the semi-final. I cannot see what has changed in a year. Dublin play the game the way it should be played. At least they kick the ball an odd time! They will win with a bit to spare.
All-Ireland MFC Final
Kerry v Galway in Croke Park on Sunday at 1.15 pm
In the minor final it’s Galway v Kerry. The Kingdom are going for five titles in a row which is incredible. Galway proved too good for Roscommon in the Connacht final, and while I would love to see them winning this title, it is hard to look beyond a very impressive looking Kerry outfit