Only a few hours now until the first proper competitive match of the Holmes/Connelly era gets underway, with a tasty League Division One opener against Kerry down in Killarney. Hopefully those of you who made it down there yesterday aren’t suffering too much from last night and that everyone else travelling down this morning arrives without incident.
With both sides having named teams comprising a mixture of established first fifteen lads and a fair few fringe players, it’s difficult to know how today’s contest will go. From our perspective, it’s good to see that Noel and Pat are willing to experiment – it would have been easy for them to come up with a more cautious selection today, one perhaps focused solely on claiming the two League points on offer, but trying different players and new formations will be vital preparation for the bigger tests that lie ahead over the summer.
The early rounds of the League are always a bit of a balancing act. While it can feel great to be kings of the hill in early spring, a runs of wins that comes at the expense of trying things out with an eye to the summer doesn’t make a whole pile of sense. Remember 2010?
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be aiming to see the lads get off the mark today. Despite all the experimentation, we’re fielding a strong enough side at Fitzgerald Stadium today, one that has every chance of claiming the two League points on offer. It is, though, worth bearing in mind that this is all today’s encounter is about. Avenging Limerick and all that isn’t on the menu this afternoon.
There are two housekeeping things which I might bring to your attention in advance of the match, as both will be relevant after the final whistle sounds at Killarney later on.
The first relates to the house rules and, in particular, the rules that apply in the 48-hour post-match window. Full details on the rules are here but the short version dealing with the immediate post-match period is that any criticism voiced about any particular player needs to relate to specific incidents in today’s game, not some pre-cooked prejudices about the player in question. Likewise, should we lose (and I’d be hopeful we won’t), weak-willed moaning comments about the sun never rising again due to the defeat aren’t the kind that will get a rousing post-match welcome here.
The second is that the return to competitive action will also mean the return of the Man of the Match poll, where you’ll get the chance to vote on which Mayo player impressed you the most in today’s game. I’ll put the poll up right after the final whistle and voting will then remain open for 24 hours or so, with our first MOTM award for 2015 announced tomorrow night.
Right, enough yap – time for action down south. Best of luck to Noel and Pat, and to Keith and the lads, as another year of #mayogaa action gets underway. Here’s hoping it’ll be a positive start to 2015 for all of them.