Mayo is full of cliques and favourites as culture will not change under Horan who made Tyrone’s job easy
Time wasters. A lot of other counties would give their right arms to be here. The people of Mayo put their heart and soul into their team. And this is what they get?
A manager on the sideline making choices based on political considerations. A protected captain who does not lead and never will.
Substituting Pádraig O’Hora in the 51st minute after he had surged forward to win a free inside the Tyrone half and had been taking the game to Tyrone? Leaving passengers on the field?
It was embarrassing and enraging, even if it was inevitable. The shame is that with a high-performance culture based on merit, Mayo could be so much more than this. I got a text from Pat Gilroy on the final whistle. It said “culture”.
At the highest level, the best culture wins. Which is why, in the end, a middling Tyrone team still learning their trade won easily. They are serious.
With Dooher, Logan and Peter Canavan leading the group, there is a merciless search for success. No passengers. No favourites. Winning big games, as they know, is war without guns.
The six in-a-row Dubs might have been highly skilled, highly conditioned, and expertly coached, but they would not have won without bringing war. Tyrone were up for it. Mayo, with a few exceptions, were not. How could they be? They have too many distractions.
The game was finally over in the 25th minute. Aidan O’Shea was presented with the easiest goal chance I have seen in a final. The Tyrone keeper was caught out and had left his goal empty, chasing back fearing the worst.
His life must have flashed before his eyes. He needn’t have worried. “Oh for f**k sake” the Mayo man beside me said. My brother Proinsias texted me, “As I said our boy”.
When there are individuals who are undroppable and a manager has favourites, cliques form and it is not a team.
The players know this, and the true bonds of loyalty and togetherness that are compulsory for success are missing.
The manager talks a good game but it is merely talk. I feel bad for Mayo and its people and its wonderful clubs but until this malaise is rooted out, this will continue to be their reality.
Straws will be clutched at. Mayo missed a penalty when they were two points down. But when everything isn’t right, nothing is right.
The feeling of liberation at the absence of Dublin and the hope that Mayo might perform was soon replaced with a feeling that nothing has changed. Tyrone, all calm and composed and ruthless when it came to it, won by five points.
It could have been worse, if for the second game in a row, the ‘Son of God’ hadn’t missed what for him was an easy goal chance.
I have watched him with excitement since he was a teenager and have never seen him miss a goal chance. It must be the Carrickmore in him. He has his first Sam Maguire already. His father, who did not win his first until he was 33, must be well pleased.
I wrote last week that what happened in the last quarter of the Dublin game and in extra-time was not a game plan. It was a crazy, unpredictable, emotional energy that an underdog sometimes taps into.
Tyrone, meanwhile, gloved Kerry, with a miraculous performance from David Clifford keeping Kerry in it. Finals are unsentimental affairs. It is kill or be killed. It is culture v culture. And when one team’s philosophy is not based on the principles of logic and merit, defeat is inevitable. The back-to-the-drawing-board bullshit does not cut it.
Good culture is the backdrop for the decisive contributions that are required to win an All-Ireland. I think of the Meath team of Colm O’Rourke, all loyalty and stubbornness and refusal to accept defeat, winning All-Irelands against better teams on paper.
Or the 2008 Tyrone team. Or Down of 1991. Or us in 1993. Or the Dubs from 2011 onwards. Mayo’s manager will say, “We lost by a point” or “we missed a penalty” or “we couldn’t repeat our semi-final performance” but this is just bullshit.
Tyrone, a team picked on merit, with a culture of heads down, no commercial distractions and playing for the people of Tyrone, easily won. Two expertly-taken goals will be the headline, but the truth is that their culture is a world away from their opposition’s.
There were any number of moments where we turned to each other and said, “Well that’s the end of that”, but the truth is that this contest was over before it began.
Tyrone came in at half-time two up, after O’Hora had surged forward defiantly to win a 20-metre free that Ryan O’Donoghue easily converted. But the wheels of this sentimental, public-relations merry-go-round came off altogether in the second half.
McShane came on and fisted a superb goal from a terrific long diagonal ball. The ‘Son of God’ came on shortly afterwards and played with the precision and expertise one would expect from a Canavan.
The inevitable second Tyrone goal followed, a thrilling long kick-out from Morgan leading to an expertly-taken finish. Calm, precise, serious. Just what you’d expect from a serious team.
Thing is, Tyrone did not expect to be All-Ireland champions at the start of this season. But when they got Mayo in the final, they knew, and we knew, that it was going to happen. In the end, it is a question of culture.
Under this manager, Mayo are time wasters. Soul destroying for good footballers and good clubs. Soul destroying for the people.