Right, it’s time to start looking ahead to Sunday’s National Football League final against Kerry at Croke Park. Our Division One decider forms part of a triple-header at HQ that day, with the National League camogie Division One final between Kilkenny and Galway starting at midday, the National Hurling League final between Limerick and Waterford getting underway at 2pm and our final throwing in at 4pm.
It was announced yesterday that Longford’s Fergal Kelly is the ref for our match. I can’t remember if he’s ever reffed a match involving us before – I certainly don’t recall any of our matches where he was in charge – and Sunday’s final is the first high-profile fixture he’s been entrusted with. Best of luck to him.
The photo shoot for the final also took place at Croke Park yesterday, where we were represented by Chris Barrett, while they fielded Paul Murphy for it.
It’s all interesting stuff, including his views on the impact of working with a geographically split squad (not as relevant a factor as many claim), why we bombed so badly against Dublin a few weeks back (a complete anomaly), how we’ve managed to make it to the final this year (the head-start in training) and the clear trend among the older guys towards settling down and getting married (once one drops, the other drops).
He also rates the competition for places within the panel right now as fierce, saying that “it’s the most competitive squad I’ve been involved in with Mayo.” He laughs off the notion that the county are on the rise again, saying that it’s not as if “we’ve risen from the dead.” Just Newbridge.
Another piece worth reading today is one by Colm Keys in today’s Irish Independent (here – requires registration), in which he assesses our League campaign to date and considers the importance of claiming the title on Sunday.
Tickets won’t, of course, be a problem for Sunday. If you’re a season ticket holder you’ll have already got the usual mail from them about taking up the Bring a Friend option (which needs to be exercised before midnight tonight). Tickets (€30 for adults, €5 for juveniles) are also available online and via Centra and SuperValu outlets.