We’re back at our metropolitan base after a very enjoyable few days spent in the home place in Mayo, where, aside from the match and everything else that we did, our three small city slickers had a whole load of fun getting their Northside wellies stuck into the Mayo mud. Concrete just hasn’t the same kind of therapeutic properties.
For my own part, the sight and the scent of the furze bushes – which at this time of year provides the main splash of colour in the countryside – was an uplifting change from what’d normally be in my field of vision and on the way back the other evening, I caught my first sight of a whitethorn bush coming into bloom. Summer is truly on the way.
I had planned to do some post-league/pre-championship stuff on here this week but all the hopping and trotting scuppered those plans and, now that I’m back, work is starting to rear its ugly head once more. So I’m going to cheat and instead point you in the direction of some excellent analysis in this area that others have already done.
First up is this bit of forensics from Club Mayo Dublin, which builds on the analysis I did a few weeks back relating to our scoring stats in this year’s NFL. This confirms that we’ve been far, far meaner at the back in this year’s league compared to last but that, at the same time, our scoring ratio has plummeted. While our increased tightness at the back is enormously welcome, our inability to get scores is a major concern, not least given the fact that it has occurred in matches played under the new rules, where you’d think that scoring opportunities should have been greater.
Next is this thread on gaaboard.com, which is well worth a look and where those incisive regulars on the board pretty much get to the heart of the matter in terms of where we stand right now.
Thereisalightthatnevergoesout has also been busy this week, with a fine piece on where we’re at and a very interesting analysis of how our 2004 U21s have fared out since their All-Ireland final defeat that year. In light of this prodigious rate of productivity, I can only conclude that my fellow blogger is obviously a man who doesn’t get distracted by the sight of furze bushes.
If you got the print edition of the Western this week, then you’ll already have seen the scoring stats for this year’s NFL, as well as a very informative table on who played for how long and when over the course of the campaign. They haven’t, though, made these stats available online and I forgot to bring the paper back with me but here’s the full scoring tally for the 2009 NFL, which, once again, sees Conor out in front. Given his current medical travails, however, I wonder if this year will – for the first time since 2001 – see a different player leading the way in the championship scoring stakes for us?
If that’s enough introspection for you, then of course there’s always tomorrow afternoon’s U21 All-Ireland semi-final clash with Down to think about. There’s no news yet on the team for that one and I suppose there won’t be till we get to Longford. There’s a bit in today’s Indo about it, though, where Pete McGrath is quoted as saying that Down felt there was no point in objecting to the match going ahead on Saturday (just three days after the Ulster final) prior to their winning on Wednesday night. That’s all nice and noble of them but you’d have thought that they could have got provisionally (oops! – wrong word in a Nordie context) up in arms or that they could have done so jointly with Armagh. But they didn’t and you’d have to think that this hands us a distinct advantage for tomorrow evening’s encounter, one where we’re aiming to avoid a third All-Ireland semi-final defeat in a row. Paddy Power seems to think we’ll manage to do this: we’re 8/11 to win tomorrow.
I’m making the relatively easy trek to Pearse Park tomorrow so I’ll be Twittering during the game (it’s also live on TG4, by the way) and I’ll be back with a full match report later on. Till then.