Back in action again, back in Croke Park again – for the first time this year – with the prize on offer today a place in the All-Ireland series.
Win it and we’re back at the point we’d have got to had we taken the direct route through Connacht, albeit with a far tougher quarter-final facing us having gone the scenic route, but back at the business end of things all the same. Lose it and, well, we know the consequences of defeat in a do-or-die fixture such as this.
I’m looking forward to today’s action, with the usual mixture of excitement and trepidation, though I will admit that, with the bookies quoting us at 1/25 to prevail today, it’s more a case of the former rather than the latter on this occasion.
That’s not, by the way, underestimating the challenge Westmeath are likely to pose this evening. It merely acknowledges the fact that we go into this one as very strong favourites and indicates that I expect us to justify that tag.
The two rounds of the qualifiers we’ve come through so far have been good, for all of us: team, management and supporters alike. Although both qualifier matches have been at home, it has felt like a bit of a journey and it’s one that today takes us back to HQ and the chance to complete our passage through the qualifiers and onto the All-Ireland series.
For as long as we remain in this year’s championship, we have no option but to maintain a one-game-at-a-time mindset. And so all that concerns us now is to find a way past Westmeath later on today. I’ve every hope and expectation that this is what we’ll manage to do.
Best of luck to the lads at Croke Park this evening as they put everything on the line once again. Here’s to the completion of a successful passage back to the All-Ireland series for us. Up Mayo!