This afternoon at MacHale Park we face Cavan in Round 5 of the League. We’re a win away from securing our place in the top Division for another year while the visitors, with just one point on the board after four outings, are fighting for their lives in the top tier. There’s much at stake, then, for both counties at Castlebar this afternoon.
I won’t be there to see it, I’m afraid – matches involving the kids up here today, allied to the fact that TG4 are broadcasting the game live from MacHale Park, made the decision for me to sit this one out logical. Not, mind you, that logic always holds sway in relation to decisions about matches but today it did.
So, what am I expecting to see from my vantage point on the couch? Well, for sure, a big improvement on our extremely poor showing last time out against Dublin, which was unacceptable at so many levels. The way we were overpowered in Croke Park appears to have been acknowledged in our announced line-up for today, with four changes made compared to the team that started against Dublin. The expectation has to be that we’ll front up more effectively today.
While we’re strong favourites to win this one, there’s no doubt but that this is a dangerous encounter from our point of view. Cavan may have little to show for life thus far in Division One but, despite this, they know that a win over us, followed by another win – the obvious target being Roscommon in Round 7 – could well be enough to save them.
We can, then, expect them to throw everything at us this afternoon. We need to be ready for this, more so than we were when Monaghan came to town with a similar aim in mind in the first round of this League campaign at the start of last month.
Despite this, you’d have to think that an improved performance from us today will be enough to secure the spoils. If we do this, it’ll leave us nicely poised to have a proper cut at Tyrone and Donegal in our final two matches. It’ll also mean – should Roscommon lose again today – that we’ll have secured our Division One status for another year with two matches to spare.
That’s a target worth shooting for and one that I hope, from afar, to see realised this afternoon. Safe travelling to all heading to Castlebar this afternoon. Up Mayo!