The draws for the 2016 provincial championships were held last night – several months too early, as per usual with the GAA – but I haven’t had much time to think about the pairings. This is because bits of the internet, in particular the bit connecting the EU to the US, got a bad dose of constipation yesterday evening which meant that access from here to some websites based in the US (where this site is hosted, on Site Ground) was – and still is – affected over some networks. This has meant that the blog has been inaccessible to some of you and the problem is an ongoing one.
The two main networks impacted here appear to be Virgin Media (The Artist Formerly Known as UPC) and eir (The Artist Formerly Known As Eircom). The only reason I’m able to tell you all this is because Vodafone’s 4G network, which I love that little bit more today, isn’t affected and so access to the blog works fine over it.
I gather the problem is some kind of unspecified multiple country, multiple operator issue, which at this stage has nerds in several locations furiously pointing the finger of blame somewhere else. Fifteen hours or so and counting later, however, the issue is still there and there’s no sign of it being sorted.
UPDATE: the nerds can now stand down as the problem appears to be resolved (as of 3.15pm).
Anyway, thank the Good Lord and His Holy Mother for 4G and back to last night’s football draw. Assuming we avoid the kind of catastrophe that damn near befell us the last time we played over in Ruislip back in 2011, our preliminary round match against London next May should be followed by a semi-final against Galway the following month. As we got to sample the delights of Salthill this year, we’ll be facing the Tribesmen on home turf in 2016.
Indeed, after a year that saw no senior inter-county championship action at all, MacHale Park is likely to play host to two big Connacht championship clashes next year. With ourselves and Galway paired for the second year in a row on one side of the draw, the Rossies have once again been handed a soft enough gallop to the provincial final. This time, with a hard Division One league campaign behind them and perhaps a management team that has a better idea of what it’s about, it’d rank as underachievement on a heroic scale were they fail to make next year’s Connacht final.
So for the fourth year in a row, our handy uncompetitive Connacht campaign in 2016 sees us having, at least potentially, to get past both Galway and Roscommon. But at least, like the Dubs (or maybe not like them if the Leinster Council finally dispatch the Jacks to the shires for their opening provincial tie next year) we’ll get to play all our games at home. Apart from London, of course – dammit, I knew I’d forget them.