One day closer and I dunno about the rest of you but this lead-in sure seems to be a long one. The four-week gap between our semi-final and Sunday week’s final is the longest interval we’ve had between games this summer – London to Galway was three weeks, then it was another three-week gap to the Fermanagh game, then it was a week to the Kildare match, two weeks to Westmeath, a week to Tyrone and two to Tipp – so no wonder it’s dragging a bit. Good, though, for rest, recovery and planning for the big one.
I’d say there was plenty of planning done at the squad’s training camp in Limerick at the weekend. Mike Finnerty has a piece in this week’s Mayo News where he speaks with both manager Stephen Rochford and selector Seán Carey on how the prep is progressing. Both men sound fairly gung-ho about the challenge facing us: neither are in any doubt about the enormity of the test but nor do they give any hint about our not being up for it.
Stephen puts it well:
It’s a challenge that we’re all relishing, and if you’re going to be the All-Ireland champions then no better way to do that than by beating the All-Ireland champions.
That’s it for sure. While any All-Ireland victory for us would taste sweeter than we can even imagine, finally reaching the summit by toppling the current standard-bearers would surely be sweeter still. So sweet, in fact, that Dr. Eva might be on our case such would be the cornucopia of sweetness we’d be luxuriating in then.
Okay, enough of the daydreaming. There’s still a final to be won and if you’re into the tactical side of things then there’s plenty in the local papers this week to keep you occupied. Pick of the bunch for me this week were Edwin McGreal’s piece in the Mayo News on kick-out strategies (ours as well as Dublin’s) and James Horan’s column in the Western People where he reveals some startling statistics (which are good from our perspective) on Dublin’s scoring record this year compared to last. I’ve no links to either, I’m afraid, but both are worth the small amount a paper or digital version of this week’s edition of these publications will set you back.
Onto arrangements for All-Ireland weekend, where Citywest Hotel is set, once again, to be the main focal point for our supporters. There’ll be a function for supporters at the hotel on Saturday night (throw-in 9pm) featuring guest pundits and ex-players, which will be covered by Mid-West Radio. Tickets at the door for this function will cost €10.
Citywest will also be the venue for the post-match banquet on Sunday night. Tables of ten are available for €800 with individual tickets on offer at €80, while tickets for the afters cost €20. Dermot at the MacHale Park office will sort you if you’re interested – call (094) 925 0487 or (087) 621 9843.
There’s also Bowe’s on Saturday night, of course, but I’m not in a position just yet to announce that one formally. I want to give them advance warning first and I went into town to do so this afternoon but discovered they don’t open ’till 4pm so you’ll have to bear with me for a bit on that.
Waiting, waiting, it’s all about waiting at this stage. Aye, and dreaming too.
Not one of the lucky winners in last night’s Mayo GAA Players Welfare Lotto draw? Don’t despair: there are ten more All-Ireland final tickets to be won in next Monday’s Lotto. Play the Lotto here.