Murph's Sideline Cut: Haunted by Enda at McHale Park

Patience was needed when the Taoiseach showed up in Castlebar yesterday.

Kenny is greeted upon his arrival yesterday.
Kenny is greeted upon his arrival yesterday.
Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

YOU JUST KNOW sometimes when someone’s going to cause you bother.

I worked in retail for a couple of summers, and you could spot the trouble-makers, the spoofers and the time-wasters a mile off.

I got a similar kind of feeling walking into McHale Park in Castlebar yesterday when I saw a stocky, fair-haired man in a green and red tie (Enda… something or other) unveiling a plaque and causing an obstruction at the entrance to the brand new stand, which was officially opened yesterday by our current Taoiseach.

Then for some reason, that self-same man was given the microphone after the minor game and asked to say a few words about the opening, which turned into quite a few words, thereby delaying the arrival onto the field of the 2 senior teams.

And after Mayo’s facile 4-20 to 0-10 win over Leitrim in the second of the Connacht football semi-finals, I was about to interview man of the match Barry Moran when over this fella comes AGAIN, congratulating Moran on a fine display but no doubt spoiling what would be the highlight of young Barry’s day… ie, speaking to Newstalk.

Sometimes the patience of a saint is required in this job.

If Enda Kenny haunted my every move yesterday, then Leitrim people will be similarly haunted today by the gulf in class which existed in this game, which was competitive for about 15 minutes before Alan Freeman struck for the first of four well-timed Mayo goals. After that it was a question only of whether Mayo would cover the handicap, and that they did, in handsome style.

What James Horan and Mayo’s back-room team learnt from all this is another question of course. I asked him moments after the game and he was as respectful as he always is to the opposition, but this will be a strange season for him. A win against Sligo in the Connacht final will see them through to an All-Ireland quarter-final – but will they have been tested?

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We were in Castlebar yesterday to see if Mayo could put down a marker, like Kildare and Donegal have done in recent weeks, to say that they deserve to be in the conversation along with the big 3 (before the season began) of Cork, Kerry and Dublin.

The quality of the opposition probably mitigated against that but they did as much as was asked of them. Barring a shock, Mayo, those 5 afore-mentioned teams and Tyrone will make up 7 of the 8 quarter-finalists.

And as for Enda – well, he’s not the worst. I don’t want to seem like I’m coming down on him like a ton of bricks. After all, it’s not like my mother (who is, shall we say, of a different political persuasion) once saw a FG poster bearing his visage being put up on an electricity pole outside our house; waited her moment, then got the ladder out and took it down again 20 minutes later.

A Mayo-born Fine Gael leader is definitely not my mother’s idea of son-in-law material, but she’d never go THAT far. Would she?

This week Murph was – delighted to see a game of the quality of Cork-Tipperary to really ignite the championship summer. We’ll be in Croker for the Leinster football semi-finals next week, and it promises to be a really good July.

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