Time to start looking ahead, if you haven’t already begun to do so, to our next match in this year’s National Football League. It’s Kerry for us in this one, under the lights at at MacHale Park on Saturday evening (throw-in 7pm).
I guess we’ll be naming our team as usual on Friday evening but ahead of that there are a few morsels of news about player availability to keep you going.
First up, Colm Boyle. As Stephen Rochford confirmed in the post-match audio on the Mayo News football podcast, the Davitts man suffered a dead leg arising from that rather agricultural hit he got late on in the game in Clones. Stephen said then that it’d be a few days before they’d know for sure how Boyler is fixed for Saturday but he cautioned that “it’s very early in the season to be putting anyone out if they’re not proper and right.” I doubt somehow we’ll chance him for this one.
Jason Doherty is another doubt. He didn’t line out the last day due to a muscle injury – the Western People on Monday said it was a problem with his calf, while the Mayo News yesterday reported it as hamstring trouble. The latter – in a piece by Edwin McGreal (paper and digital variants) – stated that Jason might, though, be okay to play this weekend and that Tom Parsons, back off his honeymoon, could be available for selection then too.
On that basis, and given that Cillian O’Connor made an unexpected appearance off the bench last Sunday, I think we’re well set to field a strong team for this one. If Boyler isn’t okay to start then Michael Hall could slot in or, if Tom comes in at midfield, either Stephen Coen or Shane Nally could drop back (Stephen was, to all intents and purposes, centre-back last weekend). A more left-field option would be to tip one of the newbies – such as James Stretton or Shairoze Akram – in for their full League debut but I’d say we’re more likely to opt for greater experience for Saturday.
In that vein, if Cillian and Jason Doc are both good to go then it’s hard to see why we wouldn’t start the both of them. Ditto Andy Moran – Shane Enright is still ploughing away at corner-back for Kerry and will, I’m sure, be gladdened at the sight of the Footballer of the Year trotting towards him once more with that big, sloppy grin on his face.
One bit of hard news about Saturday’s game to finish up – the ref for it is Tipperary’s Derek O’Mahoney. The last time I recall him reffing a match of ours was when we played Kildare in the qualifiers the summer before last, on an evening when we had a few solid penalty shouts turned down, but sure we won’t hold that against him.