We’re all getting slightly twitchy, I guess, as the clock ticks down to the start of our do-or-die Round 2B qualifier against Fermanagh at MacHale Park tomorrow (throw-in 3.30pm). There’s been bugger-all out of either camp in the lead-in to the game and a little more than 24 hours out from throw-in there’s no word as yet on either county’s starting fifteen. And, of course, there’s a strong likelihood that whatever teams are named won’t be the ones that’ll start.
I’m not sure what the Ernesiders plan to do about announcing their pick but we said last night that we’ll be naming our starting fifteen this evening. I’ve no idea when in the evening this will happen but, as the man says, all will be revealed in due course. In the meantime, here’s some #mayogaa stuff to keep you going.
We’ve scuttled back into the elephant grass where the nationals are concerned, by the looks of it, save for this piece in the Irish Independent by former Tyrone great Peter Canavan. The man who first lifted the Sam Maguire for the Red Hands says that it’s time for the leaders of this team to show their worth. He says he’d “be astonished if we don’t see Mayo go out and lay down a marker against Fermanagh tomorrow.” That’s the plan, Pete, hopefully one we’ll put into practice emphatically tomorrow.
Closer to home, John Casey provides his thoughts in this week’s Mayo Advertiser – here. John’s take isn’t a million miles from Peter Canavan’s, echoing the point about the need for our talking to be done on the pitch. He describes tomorrow’s match as “the acid test for Rochford and his team” and he’s surely correct there. John reckons we’ll do it but adds the rider that “it may not be as convincing as the bookies think.”
Also in the Mayo Advertiser, Colm Gannon has a match preview – here. Colm sifts through the various options in relation to team selection and while he terms Fermanagh as “dangerous visitors” he points to their modest record so far this year, concluding that they’re likely to be “well off the pace Mayo will expect to set.”
The last piece I want to direct you towards for now is by Rob Murphy in the Mayo News (here), which touches on the point that’s been given a good airing here of late, about supporting the team and the journey we’re on and all that. Rob gives a good insight – which we chatted about on the margins of the podcast the other week – about what it was like following Connacht Rugby on their march to Pro 12 glory. The interesting point he makes is that the trophy “was just swept up along the way” and that the real treasure to be mined from the experience was the journey itself and all the memorable displays the team provided.
Right, back to the here and now. We’ve had a small taster of summer the last few days but the forecast for tomorrow doesn’t look hectic as you can see from the graphic below. With fast-moving weather coming in off the Atlantic it is, of course, very difficult to predict – even as close as 24 hours out – exactly when the rain will hit and when it’ll have passed through but there’s at least a strong chance that it could be wild, wet and windy at MacHale Park tomorrow. And that’s before the scrabbling for the unreserved seats in the stand gets going in earnest.
Back later with the team news.