How to deal with losing in May – Jarlath
THERE is nothing worse for a GAA countyman than to be out of the championship in May. All that training, sharpness, adrenaline built up, hard ground, the lads, the craic, the dreams and suddenly you’re away from the hurly burly and back to the humdrum.
There is no end to the havoc this state of affairs can play on a county player’s mental well being.
Of course, there’s the outside chance that a good draw, coupled with a bit of luck, could see you propelled back onto the bandwagon in mid-August, but even at this early stage, we could bet that the likes of Waterford, Cavan, Laois and Westmeath probably won’t even see the end of June, if first day form is anything to go by.
It’s a long long way from here to the draws for the first qualifier. In the meantime, it’s back to the club, watch the other games on TV and listen to the drones of those who want to tell you everything about why your county and you yourself just aren’t good enough.
A trip for milk to the shop becomes a pilgrimage to Lough Derg as those who haven’t the social graces to know you don’t want to talk to them, pontificate with the self taught wisdom of someone who never kicked a ball in their lives, but is the missing Micko in his own mind.
Work is another place you want to avoid people and those who toil in anonymous office blocks in town can be glad of their gloriously ill-informed colleagues who wouldn’t even know the match was on, the day after the championship exit. This is one day you don’t want to talk about football.
All players have championship horror stories. I remember 1998, when we had been beaten by Derry after an energy and emotion sapping semi-final which we were sure we could win.
We were desperate; 16 years without a title and back home with nothing again. The game had been live on TV and as far as we were concerned, the whole world that day knew that Armagh had failed yet again.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published Thursday May 24. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or click here to purchase the pdf for just 90p.