It’s Wednesday already with the Connacht final on Sunday but, going by the nationals this morning, you’d hardly notice. Not a sausage about the Hyde Park decider in the online variants of either the Examiner or the Times this morning and so all I’m able to put in front of you with your porridge are two pieces in this morning’s Irish Independent.
The first is a brief interview with Noel Connelly, where the issue of our defence is discussed. Noel takes the line of pretty much poo-pawing the whole topic, saying that “every team from the provincial stage onwards is going to be defensive” and by the sound of it refusing to get drawn into talking about specifics. Which, if this was his intention, was probably the best tack to take in the lead-in to the match. Actions, not words, will show us fairly quickly whether or not we’re wising up in this area.
The second piece from the Indo is a longer one with ex-Sligo manager Tommy Breheny, who was in charge the last time the Yeats County claimed the Nestor Cup, back in 2007. Then as now, Tommy’s brother Mark was on the team and this year Tommy’s son Cian is also involved, with the teenager likely to get his second championship start at midfield on Sunday. Tommy sketches a number of similarities between how Sligo are doing now compared to eight years ago and he gives his countymen a chance this time round, though only if we’re “a little bit off”. We have been warned.
That Sligo success in 2007 was only their third ever Connacht title. It came 32 years after their previous win, one recorded by the county against us after a replay in MacHale Park. RTÉ have put extended highlights of that famous 1975 victory on their website (here) and they’re well worth a look. The game looks so different, MacHale Park looks very different too. It was, in truth, an utterly different world back then. Mind you, different world or not, there’s no way Barnes Murphy should have got away with that sly kick on Willie McGee.
I did a piece myself some years ago on that distant contest, the first Connacht final of which I’ve any kind of first-hand memory. Shorn of much else to link you to, that one is here.
Switching from looking back to looking ahead, the Mayo News podcast is now online and as ever it’s essentially listening. It’s available here:
Want to talk about the weather? My focus, to be honest, is still on the Westportif cycle route on Saturday (we’ll get wet, by the looks of it, but hopefully not totally doused) but the indications at this stage are that we could have some rain to contend with at Hyde Park the following afternoon too. That forecast could, I know, change beyond recognition – hopefully for the better – between this and then.
Nothing for it, I guess, but to end with a poll on Sunday’s decider. What will it be – the completion of the five-in-a-row for us or a fourth provincial title for them?
Who'll win the Connacht final?
- Mayo (86%, 323 Votes)
- Sligo (14%, 51 Votes)
Total Voters: 374