It’s the elephant in the room that no-one West of the Shannon talks about. Deep, deep down in the Mayo mindset is the engrained notion that they can’t win.
Every year they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and go again. At this point, it’s a reflex action to being knocked down so often. The reasons offered for not landing the big one is a huge list at this point:
- Dirty opposition tactics.
- Lack of a bench.
- Sideline decisions.
- Keeper Mistakes.
- Sendings off.
- Priestly Curses.
- Free taking meltdowns.
- Non functioning forward lines.
- Sheer bad luck.
But ultimately, there have been moments in 4 finals where Mayo have been good enough to have us on the ropes, primed for the final knockout punch. And each of the four times they’ve failed to deliver that decisive blow.
Semis too, 2014 Vs Kerry, and 2015 V Us. Same thing. It’s the same reason that 2nd and 3rd division teams can run them close.
They are simply not collectively and consistently vicious enough to see it out. They have one foot raised to the first step of the Hogan Stand, and they hesitate. And in that split second, they’ve lost 3 or 4 All Irelands.
Maybe all I’m doing is talking bollocks on an internet forum in January, but the of evidence that they just don’t have that last little bit of composure and belief seems to be there for all to see.
Maybe one day soon they’ll develop it - but will they have the squad at that point? The race is on.