I dunno about the rest of you but the time seems to be dragging on interminably ahead of Sunday’s big game at Croke Park. There’s no team to talk about and I suspect that, once again, there might be no formal announcement ahead of the day itself.
The Mayo News has a piece about how six of our players are in a “fitness race” for Sunday’s NFL decider but when, you look at it closely, you can see that most of these are unlikely to start even if they’re declared fit. I don’t, for example, expect to see Keith Higgins in action on Sunday under any circumstances and, despite his cameo return appearance for Crossmolina at the weekend, I’d say there’s no chance that Peadar Gardiner will feature either. Likewise Aidan Kilcoyne, who is once again fit and roaring for road but who has, of course, played no part in the NFL campaign to date. (The same goes for both Barry Moran and Tom Cunniffe, by the way, though neither of these feature in the list of six).
With Seamus O’Shea and Tom Parsons going so well at midfield, I’d expect to see Ronan to be on the bench even if he is fully fit and while Enda Varley should start if he’s fully recovered, I have my doubts as to whether or not he’ll be 100% ready. If he isn’t, he won’t start but he could, I suppose, be on the bench.
That just leaves Trevor Howley who, according to that Mayo News piece, picked up a calf strain in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and who, for precautionary reasons, didn’t play for Knockmore last weekend. Mike Finnerty reckons he’ll be okay to start and, if he is, then start he will. Those who made the trip to Cork the last day will remember that Trevor was given the runaround in the first half by Donncha O’Connor so he’ll need to be ready to go full tilt at the Ballydesmond man at HQ on Sunday. The Mayo News has an interview with Trevor by Mike Finnerty, which you might want to have a look at. While you’re at it, this “where are they now?” article about the Class of 2001 is also worth a gander.
There’s bugger all coming out of the other camp too, though this interview with Conor Counihan in today’s Examiner is worthy of a mention in passing. The Cork jefe makes light of his own injury list and insists that it’s up to the players who are available for selection to do the business for them on Sunday. He also makes a half-hearted attempt to big us but, as you’ll see, he can’t really compete with our man in that department. Johnno’s undoubted skills in that area have obviously done the trick on Paddy Power, with whom we’ve now drifted right out to 2/1 for the win on Sunday. Those are attractive odds but even better is the offer of 4/1 against a 1 – 3 point win for us. I’m not normally a betting man but these odds are beginning to look like they’re now too good to pass up.
By the way, that cracking picture above of the bainisteoir tête-à-tête was snapped by The Brother shortly before throw-in down at Páirc Uí Chaoimh the last day. As this proves, he doesn’t just do audio!