This afternoon the lads take on Kildare in a crucial NFL Division One fixture at St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge. While it’s not a winner-take-all contest, whoever emerges from it with the spoils will have given themselves a decent shot at retaining their top tier status. Whoever loses, though, is almost certainly going to get relegated. So, from our perspective, this game is definitely a must-win one for us.
Our form so far this year has been, like at this time of year the last few seasons, lethargic and disjointed. Having pinched a fortunate enough opening day win up in Clones against Monaghan we’d a great chance to push on and do well in this year’s League campaign. Three dispiriting losses later, however, we’re back instead in the familiar territory of a relegation battle.
Our cause is, as of yet, far from hopeless. Tyrone winning last night, though, did us no favours and we’ll now definitely need to win two, and preferably all three, of our remaining matches if we’re to make sure we stay up.
Kildare will be no pushovers today. Although they’ve lost all four of League matches they’ve played this year – and losing to us will effectively seal their fate – they’ve been unlucky to do so.
Ulster counties are tough to play against at this time of year – they’re far more accommodating opponents these days in high summer at Croke Park – but Kildare only lost to Tyrone and Monaghan by a point and went down to Donegal by just two points. If we think we’ll have it all our own way today against a team capable of battling like that then we need to think again.
How we fare out today depends, in large part, on the team we field. The one we named yesterday didn’t include the likes of Paddy Durcan, Tom Parsons, Cillian O’Connor or Conor Loftus. The one we start today could well have within its ranks some or all of these players.
The stronger the team we put out today, the better. We should aim to grab control of this match from the start and drive on from there. That’s something we’ve failed completely to do so far this year but, with our Division One status once more on the line, it’s high time for us to show the kind of form we know we’re capable of when it really matters.
A bright start and a better scoring return from the attacks we make than we’ve enjoyed to date this year and we’ll be well on our way today. On our way to a much-needed, and well overdue, second win of the campaign.
Safe travelling to all on the roads today. I’m hoping to see a big Mayo crowd cheer on a big performance by the lads at St Conleth’s Park this afternoon. Up Mayo!