Right, we’re now in countdown mode ahead of our first championship outing of 2016, our first summer campaign clash under Stephen Rochford’s management, the first fixture in what we all hope will be a championship campaign to remember. For the right reasons. And it all starts at 3pm over in Ruislip next Sunday.
I love London. I first got to see it for myself thirty years ago this summer and then I ended up spending a number of years living, working and studying there from the late Eighties to the mid-Nineties. These were formative, productive and hugely positive years for me and I guess for that reason – allied to the fact that London truly is one of the great cities on the planet – I’ll always treasure my time there. I returned to live in Dublin in 1996 but I’ve made it back to London at some point every single year since then (often more than once) and although I haven’t managed to do this yet this year, I’ve no doubt but that I will before the year is out.
But not next Sunday. I’ve never been tempted to join the international circuit for championship games, though I can readily appreciate the attraction this holds for the increasingly large number of supporters who have, and so once again I’ll be sitting this one out. Oddly enough, when I was living in London I didn’t make it as far as Ruislip for the county’s Connacht championship preliminary round appearance there in 1991, due to the proximity of exams at that time.
Exams are of no concern to me now but I’m still happy to hold off on seeing the lads in the flesh until their expected semi-final clash with Galway at MacHale Park next month. I know, I know – that kind of getting-ahead-of-ourselves thinking could well have been a factor in our courting with disaster back in 2011. The bald truth, though, is that if the lads are properly tuned in for championship football – and memories of that 2011 experience, not to mention Roscommon’s near-death escapade in New York a few weeks back, would suggest strongly they will be – then the implacable logic about what happens when a Division One team meets a Division Four side should hold in this case.
I might be passing up on being at the game but I do have plans made for the weekend, which involve a bit of travel and should also encompass following what’s happening over in London. I’m heading west to the home place on Saturday and if the forecast continues to look promising I might chuck in the bike as well and get a proper spin done on Sunday morning. Then that afternoon I’m hoping to sit down with my dad to follow the action live from Ruislip on the wireless. I don’t think I’ll even bother to see if there are any streams from the match on Periscope – sometimes hearing is seeing and I reckon Sunday, with the radio tuned into Midwest for the game, could be one of those occasions.