It’s a case of once more unto the breach this afternoon, this time in the form of what’s likely to be a tasty NFL Division One tie up in Healy Park against Tyrone. The match throws in this afternoon up in Omagh at 3pm. (That’s new time – did you remember to put the clock forward?)
This shouldn’t have been as important a fixture for us as it clearly now is. If we’d played anything close to the level we’re capable of last Sunday we’d be travelling North today with six points on the board and still in the hunt for a place in the final. Instead our calamitous display against Cavan means we head into this one with dark thoughts about relegation swirling in the air.
Those thoughts will come sharply into focus if we leave Healy Park today empty-handed. Put simply, if we lose today then we’ll have to beat Donegal next weekend and hope that this will be enough to keep us up.
The Rossies, already relegated after last night’s HQ hockeying, might yet save us but, you know, the Lord helps those who help themselves and we could do a lot worse than starting to aid our own cause this afternoon.
The result today is key, of course it is, but equally important is how we perform. We’ve been off-colour performance-wise all year – being brutally honest, we’ve rarely performed well since Stephen Rochford took over. I know, we fronted up impressively against Tyrone and both days against Dublin when it really counted last year but those displays were the exception rather than the norm.
We need to break from this standard practice of playing well within ourselves, of struggling to win games we should close out with ease, of losing games we could just as easily win.
Today’s test for sure isn’t an easy one, The way we failed to make headway against Cavan’s crude version of the blanket defence bodes ill for how we’re likely to fare against the county that has brought suffocation to an art form in Gaelic football.
We always tend to struggle against them in the League and today is likely to be no different. Wouldn’t it be great, then, if today proved to be the day when we ripped up that narrative and showed all and sundry that we too can chisel out a result in the face of adversity at this time of year?
Hand on heart, I’m not expecting a whole pile out of today’s game. Whatever about the result, though, how we perform is, for me, of greater importance. Another underwhelming, flat display would be a serious worry whereas if we give it everything and still go under it’ll at least give us something to build on, not just against Donegal but more importantly for the summer too. Here’s hoping we’ll get such a display from the lads today.
However they perform, I’m not going to be there to see it. Kids’ activities have ramped up sharply of late and parental taxiing duties could mean that I don’t even get to see the live broadcast on TG4 this afternoon. If I don’t see it live I’ll see it later on this evening and so will be able to post some sort of match report here.
Here’s to two much-needed League points. Failing that, here’s to a much-improved performance from the lads. Up Mayo!