We’re inching ever closer to Connacht final day – only nine days to go now – and while there’s little or no coverage about the match in the papers as yet, with Noel Connelly’s encouraging quote from the press night about all the squad being fit and ready the only morsel to chew on, time is ticking on and planning for the day is a job that could usefully be done at this stage.
With this in mind, the mail I received last night from Mayo GAA – as a Cáirde Mhaigheo member – piqued my interest, containing as it did details of the special train that Iarnród Éireann are laying on from Westport to Roscommon on the day. I tweeted the details on this last night (here). The timetable looks pretty good and I might even go for it myself as, for a change, I won’t be haring back to the capital after the match but will instead be spending that night back on sacred soil.
If you’re a season ticket member you’ll also have got that mail by now on this as well and so you’ll know the whole score on what’s happening on the ticketing side of things. Basically, if you do plan to go and your credit card details are up to date on the season ticket system then you’ll be charged automatically for the match and, like the last day in Pearse Stadium, all you’ll have to bring with you to Hyde Park is your season ticket which will be scanned on the way in. If you’re not planning to go then there’s a facility to opt out and the mail you’ll have got provides full details on this.
I’m not going to get into the whole seating arrangements issue as this is all a fait accompli at this stage. Problems like this are clearly a direct consequence of putting the venue first and the punters last, rather than – as all of the other provinces do – the other way around. But it’s done now and we’ve got to get on with it and hope that everything works out okay on the day.
John Prenty was on Midwest yesterday, by the way, putting the Connacht Council’s side of that particular debate. If you’re interested in this, the audio is available here (the discussion starts at around the 1:12 mark).
The one point I’d strongly agree with John on is the bit about the weather and that if the day is okay then things are likely to go far smoother. Tentative early signs on that front appear okay, from what I can see – I’m keeping a close enough watch on the forecast for the west next weekend as I’m planning on doing the Westportif cycle the day before and that day looks like it might be fine so hopefully Sunday will be too.
Partly because of the likely state of my derrière after 160km in the saddle the day before but also because I’ll have the small lad with me in Hyde Park and can’t get a seated ticket for him, I’m planning on taking to the terrace myself on the day. There are still plenty of terrace tickets available and can be got from the usual outlets.
Finally, some light-hearted relief, it being Friday and all that. You’ll have heard by now about that infamous recent challenge match between Dublin and Armagh, in which Dublin’s Davey Byrne suffered an assault that landed him in the hospital with a broken nose and a few other bangs and bruises. Jim Gavin was pressed on the issue by Colm Parkinson on Newstalk’s Off The Ball show last night and to say that the Dublin manager wasn’t exactly forthcoming would be a bit of an understatement. The audio on this is here.