Mayo have the edge if not the desire to kill off Kerry
TV view: More “liathróidí” required for replay, says Pat Spillane
Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea and Kevin McLoughlin attempt to dispossess Kerry’s Kieran Donaghy. Photograph: Inpho/Gary Carr
Colm O’Rourke was fretting about the state of parts of the Croke Park pitch in the aftermath of the U2 concert. Evidently unable to help himself, he only went and said it, “Mayo still haven’t found what they’re looking for”.
Later, with mere seconds left on the clock, he was probably all set to add, say, Sunday Bloody Sunday and Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of to Mayo’s All-Ireland-pursuing playlist, but Paddy Durcan’s late, late, late equaliser ensured they’d live to fight another, well, Beautiful Day.
There is now a severe risk, of course, that we’ll be subjected to yet another bout of psychoanalysing of Mayo ahead of next weekend’s replay when, at this point, we really should just be doffing our caps to them for providing so many frazzling, draining, breathless spills and thrills these past few years.
If they’d beaten Kerry there would, most likely, have been an online petition requesting that they be allowed dress like Down again for the final, although Colm was concerned about their black and red kit before the game, worrying that they’d wouldn’t be able to see each other.
As it proved, Kerry, Blueshirts on the day, couldn’t spot Andy Moran when he rampaged clear to score that early goal, a moment possibly missed by the Mayo faithful, who were all still looking up the other end of the pitch asking each other “is that seriously Aidan O’Shea marking Kieran Donaghy?”
It was an encouraging opening for a team that had quite a bit of pressure on it going in the game. As Colm put it, “the next defeat could spell the end for quite a few of these Mayo players, there’s nothing to concentrate the mind like the fear of a hanging”.
They were level at half-time, though, Joe Brolly suggesting that if Tyrone defended like Kerry did in that first half, Mickey Harte “would take to his bed for the week”. Some tightening up needed in the Kingdom’s rearguard, then, but Johnny Buckley’s second-half goal showed they were functioning reasonably well in the score-accruing department.
There was, though, a spell when it looked like Mayo were home and hosed, and just when you began wondering whether they’d prefer Dublin or Tyrone in the final, Kerry drew level and then took the lead. But Durcan equalised before Bryan Sheehan had a chance to win it for Kerry at the death and all you could do was ask the heavens how much more do the people of Mayo have to endure?
“Ah jeez, your heart has to go out to them,” said Pat Spillane – and he, in case you haven’t heard, is a Kerry man.
“We were hopping from one leg to the other and you were hopping from one leg to the other to the other again,” Michael Lyster said to Pat, who possibly just needed the bathroom but didn’t want to leave in case he missed the winning point. We’ve all been there.
Pat, though, resisted any psychoanalysing, instead deciding that “if Mayo want to win the replay, they’re going to have to show more liathróidí”. Otherwise, perhaps, in their quest to bring Sam home, they’d just be Running to Stand Still.
Which is how Derry’s hurlers might have felt during their under-21 All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny at Semple Stadium on Saturday.
“What did Eddie Brennan say to you at half-time when you were 23 points up,” TG4’s Micheál Ó Dómhnaill asked man of the match Shane Walsh come full-time. “All he said was ‘look lads, there are places up for grabs, we need to drive it on and horse in to these boys’,” said Shane – and they horsed in to Derry big time, winning by just the 52 points in the end, 8-35 to 0-7.
“I’m sure they’re going to take a lot out of this game,” he added. He meant well, but. One of U2’s lesser known tunes? Numb.