It's a sorry saga as Roscommon self-destruct again
Published 06/04/2008 | 00:00
A league which has been seriously underwhelming in terms of crowds, excitement and quality is beginning to take shape.
In many respects, though, the competition has been a bit overshadowed by events off the field. The chickens coming home to roost could darken the sky with the Cork situation if Meath survive in Division 2 on the strength of the two points they were awarded.
Cavan's win over Cork last weekend might even the scales there, while the other county who look destined for relegation, Roscommon, seem to have enough internal problems without looking for more. Some dreadful performances so far make any appeal against other teams getting points from Cork appear a bit off the mark at this stage in terms of their own survival.
A county must be able to help itself first. Roscommon, though, have obviously got an overload of self-destruction in their DNA as they stagger from one disaster to another. The treatment of different managers in Roscommon over a number of years has been nothing short of a scandal, because it happens to be the GAA nobody seems to pass much remarks but it is long past time for decent Roscommon people to stand up and be counted.
For the morons to continue to destroy, all it takes is for genuine supporters to say nothing. And whether John Maughan was doing a good job, middling job or a bad job is irrelevant. Where Roscommon are at now has nothing to do with winning or losing but a choice between decency, respect and good manners or an acceptance of boorish, vulgar and loutish behaviour.
I saw this at first hand in the Roscommon-Meath league match recently where a group who could roughly be called Roscommon supporters -- and very roughly -- were foul-mouthed and abusive to players from both sides and managements as well. And they thought they were funny.
Feeling a little isolated, I felt the better part of valour was discretion but this group needed a lesson in good behaviour, advising them to keep quiet would be the first part of the exercise. Whether there would be any need for a second part would depend on the reaction to the first.
These types of loudmouths need to be removed from matches so there is a role for stewards here in identifying culprits. They have become a blight on the game and why should any manager or player have to put up with it?
Now Roscommon face a very uncertain future. The present vacancy won't be very attractive while sponsors will shy away and it will hardly inspire future players to wear the county jersey. Every county has a similar element of those who stray over the line of decency but Roscommon have far more than their share.
At least Galway have brightened up the football scene even if their exciting brand of football has not attracted much in the way of a crowd to their home games in Pearse Stadium. Maybe the live coverage by TG4 last Sunday did not help, yet two progressive counties like Galway and Derry should get supporters out on a fairly pleasant afternoon.
Liam Sammon is wasting no time with Galway. He seems to have brought new enthusiasm to a lot of the more experienced players. There is no doubt that he is an excellent trainer and sessions will be planned thoroughly and focused on what needs to be improved -- and they won't be repetitive and boring.
The other big advantage Galway have is good players. It is a bit early to pass judgement yet as Padraic Joyce has still a lot to offer, but if he continues to debate frees with referees he will end up on the line. Matthew Clancy is the big revelation, his energy, tackling and work-rate on behalf of the team were exemplary while he improved on his weak point -- scoring.
Maybe this could be the year when Michael Meehan finally delivers. He is much too young to write off and he is showing more for the ball and taking better options while the scoring power remains. His brother Declan seems well suited to a sweeping role in defence and Galway had a tight look about them overall last Sunday. If Niall Coleman and Barry Cullinane solve the midfield problem, Joe Bergin can stay up front and the Galway forwards look to have a bit of menace about them -- with Nickey Joyce, Cormac Bane and Sean Armstrong on the bench too.
Of course the display of Finian Hanley at full-back on Paddy
Bradley was central to the win, Hanley, quite legitimately, did a great spoiling job. If he did not get there first he was close enough to break the ball while Bradley had possession, an example of very good discipline. Bradley is a scorer first and foremost and has not yet acquired the rounded skills of team play which involve tackling, making runs for the benefit of others and laying the ball off quickly -- in other words the way Donaghy and Gooch play for Kerry. Eoin Bradley got more possession than his more famous brother but he seems to have a shoot-on-sight policy which must drive the other forwards to distraction. In reality, what it will mean is that no other forward will run for a pass if this continues as they realise it is a waste of energy when Eoin has the ball.
Even allowing for these problems, Derry have quite a bit of potential. Mark Lynch looks as if he is now ready to be a big-game player and there is a lot of honesty of effort in this Derry team. What last Sunday showed is that both Galway and Derry are going the right way but the lawnmowers are not even out yet. It would be surprising though if both are not around at the end of July.