Now that the county championships are over, it's worth taking a moment to reflect on the year that was. It's time to whip out the dogeared notebook and comb through the individual and team goals you wrote down at the beginning of the season to see how many deserve a tick beside them.
The procurement of silverware generally indicates a fruitful year while a barren cabinet tends to evoke feelings of regret. And if you happen to fall into the latter category, the end of the season is a bloody relief.
At times like this, the manager is normally cited as the artist of the team's downfall and their failings throughout the year become very apparent.
Managers are human, but they often overestimate themselves. When they outline their plan for the season, they make a solemn vow to uphold their end of the arrangement provided the players do likewise.
But as the year trundles on, the insincerities of those promises are exposed. A peculiar decision here and a reversed call there all lead to the general conclusion that managers have a tendency to write cheques they can't cash.
And here are some of the classic fibs that every manager has uttered at some point or other.
'I don't care who you are or how good you think you are'
Every manager wants to assert their dominance in the dressing room, particularly if they have just been appointed to the position. And it's important to lay down the marker early to prevent any self-proclaimed All-Stars from believing their grip of the jersey is assured. They might have post-primary, minor and U21 inter-county accolades in the back pocket, but the new boss swears that these gongs won't be enough to guarantee a place on the team.
And for the players who ordinarily wouldn't have a hope of making the team, a promise like this teases them with possibility that maybe, just maybe, this will their year to shine.
This all sounds very authoritative and fair, but you can be sure that when the time comes to implement this strategy, the shaper will always trump the sub. Always.
'Full attendance at training this evening - No excuses'
Another logical and equally purposeful demand from the manager who says that anyone who fails to attend will be parking in the dugout at the next game.
The more devoted player will abide by this warning without question, but if one of the 'more seasoned' players requests to be excused, the manager throws their principles out the window and gives them a free pass.
Training disguised as matches
Attendance levels have depleted a bit lately, and the manager needs to revise his strategies in order to pump those numbers back up. For a player, the prospect of a challenge match provokes images of impressing the crowd with well-timed tackles, crisp passing and delicious dummies.
But when you arrive at the pitch and see training poles sticking up out of the four corners of the pitch, you know you have been deceived. Worse still, your about to have the proverbials ran off you as well.
Horses for courses
Managers preach about the importance of honesty, but when the opportunity to speak truthfully to a player presents itself, they tend to cut and run.
In a literal sense, 'Horses For Courses,' means different people are suited to different situations. And for managers who are about to inform a player they have been dropped, this is the ideal arm-around-the-shoulder phrase.
It's meaningless and vague enough to prevent any follow-up questions being asked, while also leaving the player to feel legitimately hopeful that they might actually break into the team again.
'Leaving certs will not be expected to attend all training session'
You'd only love to use training as an excuse to dodge the books for an hour. The elders however, are keen for you to get the C in honours Irish so you can go and do the teaching. And all protestations are normally met with a repeated chorus of 'The football will still be there when you finish the exams.'
For the sake of avoiding strife at home, you have to curtail the training. And thankfully, the manager is a stern advocate of the 'study comes first' philosophy, so much so, that you only have to attend every session until the two days before the exams begin.
Oh and I wouldn't risk booking that Leaving Cert holiday to Magaluf if I were you.
'Last lap lads, last lap'
When you're twelve nauseating laps in to 'fitness drills and chill' and the manager tells you this bare faced lie.
You burst yourself for that 'last' lap and just when you're ready to collapse over the line, the coach demands another five rounds. And while all this torture is taking place, the coach's favourites can be found at the other end of the pitch practising their free-taking.
'Have no illusions lads, these are going to give us a tough game'
Translation: This shower are useless and we're in for an emphatic victory, but I won't dare say it for fear you'll get complacent and we'll only beat them by 15 points instead of 20.
'If we win on Saturday you can go out that night'
Don't be stupid, you won't be going anywhere Saturday night, no matter how much ye win by. You'll be sitting in by the fire with your sugarless tea and black bread. And don't forget, we have training Sunday morning at 6am followed by a bare foot pilgrimage up Croagh Patrick where a 3 hour core session will be taking place.
'We will be using subs'
'I know there's a few disappointed lads in the dressing room today lads, but you don't know when you might be needed so make sure and keep warm. And to the lads who have the jersey for now, I'm givin' ye 10 minutes to get into this game or you'll be standing beside me on the sideline- ' (Ever, Every Manager: 1884 - the end of time)
'We're leaving no stone unturned this year'
Last year didn't produce the glory ye wanted, but this year will be different. A nutritionist will be attending trainings, psychologists will be drafted in to help with mental preparation, and the drinking ban is actually going to be enforced this year.
But it doesn't take long to realise that these plan are not going to be carried out and by the end of the season, there will be enough untouched stones available to build a house.