Galway surprised us all on Saturday when they put in a sensational performance to stun Mayo and set up a Connacht SFC final with Roscommon. Not too many punters outside Kevin Walsh's camp seemed to be giving them much of a chance before the clash in McHale Park but the Tribesmen prevailed thanks to a stunning goal from Thomas Flynn.
But while Galway have been receiving plaudits for their expressive and energetic display, some are pointing the finger at Mayo and their underwhelming handling of the favourites tag. One of those finger-pointers is Kerry legend Tomas Ó Sé. Ó Sé, like his brother Darragh, has swapped boots for keyboard as he establishes himself as a fine pundit, aided by his wealth of experience in the game and lack of reticence in calling things as he sees them.
Writing in the Irish Independent, Ó Sé wasn't impressed by Mayo -"where were their leaders?"- and said that their performance reminded him of what he saw at a league game against Cork earlier in the year.
I saw lads laughing and messing and smiling. These were senior lads and they had a load of young newcomers with them that day.
And this was the example they were setting.
A common reference point for either Ó Sé is always "the talk". What were people saying, who was criticising a team? One doesn't find it hard to imagine Ó Sé as a player cutting out newspaper clippings and sticking them to the Kerry dressing room wall. And Ó Sé thinks that former Mayo boss James Horan and recently retired forward Mickey Conroy didn't do their county any favours.
Predicting an easy mayo win against a Gway side who think they have a chance but don't really believe they'll win. 5-10 points for me.#easy
— Michael conroy (@ConroyMickey) June 18, 2016
Ó Sé wrote:
The talk during the week surprised me too. James Horan said the gap was getting wider between Mayo and Galway. Mickey Conroy, who was part of the panel until recently, predicted an easy win for Mayo over a Galway team that didn't "believe it could win".
Kevin Walsh must have been licking his lips when seeing that kind of thing. His team talk was done for him. And Galway didn't look like a team that didn't believe.
Ó Sé questioned whether Conroy and Horan, in their proximity to this Mayo team, were reflecting a view that the players held themselves or if it had "seeped into their mindset".
But it wasn't all doom and gloom. Ó Sé thinks that Mayo still have a chance of being involved in the latter stages of the championship this year. He recovered from similar defeats as a player with the Kingdom and believes Mayo have the capability to do so as well-though he expresses doubts about their forward line.
You can read his insightful column here.