It’s Connacht final week but, from our perspective, you wouldn’t really know it, would you? Sure, the minors are on the card for Sunday at Pearse Stadium – and good luck to them, their provincial final against Galway throws in at midday – but the senior decider isn’t of great concern to us.
It’s the first Galway/Roscommon final since 1998 and only the third Nestor Cup decider between the counties in thirty years. If Galway do it it’ll be their first Connacht title since 2008 and their 45th in all (putting them back to just one behind us in the provincial roll of honour). If the Rossies win out it’ll be their 24th provincial crown and their first since 2010.
I’m not planning on taking in Salthill on Sunday but some of you no doubt will, not least given the minors’ appearance on the undercard at Pearse Stadium. For those thinking of going, ticketing details for Sunday are here.
While the neighbours are gearing up for their big day on Sunday – and good luck to the both of them in it – we, meanwhile, have to be content with our place in the shadows the previous afternoon. It’s not a position that feels in any sense normal but it’s one we need to accept as the new normal and get on with it.
One of the odd things about the qualifiers is the absence of any national coverage about us right now. After the Galway defeat there was plenty of analysis of what befell us and what we need to do as a result but since then we’ve largely dipped out of view. The news yesterday about Tom Parsons, for example, didn’t register at all with the national media.
Maybe that’s no bad thing. We’ve had more than our fair share of the limelight in recent years and as we walk the qualifier tightrope – all the while knowing that with one slip-up we’re gone – it’s no harm that there’s less focus on us.
The local coverage continues unabated, though, and Billy Joe Padden’s tactics column in this week’s Mayo News is worth a look – it’s here. In it Billy Joe lays out in stark language where the team now finds itself and what the lads need to do on Saturday, both to stay in this year’s championship and to preserve the legacy of all they’ve achieved since 2011:
The reputation that they’ve worked so hard for over the last five years is at stake. Everything they’ve sacrificed and strived for over the last five years is on the line.
This is about salvaging their season and keeping this team alive. Because if Mayo lose to Fermanagh then things are never going to be the same again for this group of players.
It’s all on the line, for sure, on Saturday. And while there’s less interest in us this week the match is being broadcast live by RTÉ on Saturday so it’s the perfect opportunity for us to show that we’re still a force to be reckoned with. A strong – and winning – performance from the lads, backed by a boisterous show of support from the stands would be the perfect start on our road to redemption.
Ticketing details for Saturday’s game are here. If you’re a Season Ticket holder you’ll have got the email from them by now letting you know the story there. Basically, your credit/debit card will have been debited with the entry price for the game and it’s self-scanning entry via your Season Ticket card at MacHale Park. At the risk of lighting the touch paper, it’s unreserved seating in the stand for this one.