Joe BrollySO pigs do fly after all if we are to believe Joe Brolly. One or two of The Sunday Game analysts may well have felt a bit like the Galway footballers in Pearse Stadium on Sunday – there was no place to hide.
Galway took a hiding from Mayo but the TV experts also took something of a panning given the waywardness of their predictions, one or two as far out as the proverbial lighthouse.
Des Cahill, the Sunday Game anchorman, had that mischievous look in his eye - the left one I think - as he prodded his guests as to how they and Galway had got it so horribly wrong. Oh ye of little faith.
But then, those of us who have been following Mayo football for longer than we care to remember can fully understand why the unpredictable nature of Mayo football might lead one into thinking that if they are to fall at any hurdle in 2013, the first one, and against Galway at that, was always the most likely.
Not so. ‘Blown away,’ was the most-used phrase by panel of experts who welcomed former Sligo player Eamon O’Hara on board for his first Sunday Game appearance.
I’m not sure who kitted him out but I’d suggest a new tailor; loosen the tie Eamon and try and not look like someone who is turning up to bring the girl next door to her first debs ball.
Kieran Whelan was providing back-up but the two of them were unable to mark Joe Brolly, who seems to have undergone a Road to Damascus-like transformation as he spoke about Mayo’s ‘physicality’ and ‘intensity’, a team what was now among the super powers of GAA. My first thought was that is Mayo banjaxed for 2013.
Please Joe, go back to telling us we are useless articles who will never win anything. “Mayo are pigs to play against,” he said and we can only assume that is a compliment.
I expect the Joe Brolly wanted posters - dead or alive - will be appearing a cinema near you in Galway for a change as he gave the Tribesmen a serious lambasting, suggesting Alan Mulholland and his team will have lots of things to do now for the summer, like taking the dog for a walk or reading the Sunday papers.
Kieran Whelan tried to reel him in and bring some order to things but Brolly had saddled up and was riding his high horse at full throttle. “This is not a serious outfit,” he charged, pointing out the difference between playing senior and Under 21 football.
“Galway had no character,” he told them.
“Some of the mistakes Galway made would not be seen in a junior game of football.
“Senior football is a brutal, brutal game and you will be punished for mistakes by the top teams like Mayo, Dublin, Donegal and Tyrone. It is serious stuff and is now more like inter-pro rugby,” he said.
Eamon O’Hara might be telling Kevin Walsh it would be safer to throw the London game if Mayo are to play like this again and, as I believe will happen, they collide in the final.
“Sligo in even their worst day never caved in like this,” Brolly told O’Hara.
Of course, there is that awkward little matter of Roscommon, but we will park than one for the moment.
“Galway had no game plan. They (and I assume he as well) thought they would ambush Mayo but they have only themselves to blame. The goals they gave away were criminal. The game was over at half-time,” said O’Hara.
Whelan was not as critical but the former Dublin player did wonder what had gone wrong in a county that bagged two Under 21 titles in the last three years.
He pointed to the chronic defending, particularly for the third Mayo goal with the Galway full-back wandering some 40 yards from his station and allowing Donal Vaughan the easiest of tasks of placing the ball into an unguarded net.
All three spoke of the pressure Mayo were putting on their opponents high up the field and forcing the turnovers as the Galway backs took the ball into the tackle and were gobbled up on most occasions by the tenacious tackling of Mayo’s defence.
“It is the kind of game Donegal practice religiously and it from such pressure goals are scored,” Brolly told the panel.
Four goals in one game is twice what they scored in the entire national football league.
Tune in for part two in three week’s time.
“You must have seen a different match than me,” Joe Brolly’s reaction to the selection of Cillian O’Connor by Eamon O’Hara and Kieran Whelan as the RTÉ man of the match. The Ballintubber man did have a fine game but surely the outstanding performances in this game were at the other end of the pitch in my humble opinion.
MARY Heneghan, Lissitava, Holymount t is this week’s winner of the €50 free bet courtesy of Ladbrokes, Castlebar. Mary told us that Paul Nolan was indeed the Irish trainer pictured here last week.
This week’s question: Cathy Gannon is one of the top Irish female jockeys. Where is she a native of?
Answers on a post card to Racing Competition, The Connaught Telegraph, Cavendish Lane, Castlebar, or email