It was only a few short weeks ago that we set out on this National Football League Division One campaign. Now here we are, still standing, on the day it concludes. Kerry provide the opposition at Croke Park in this afternoon’s League decider, where throw-in is fixed for 4pm.
Today’s match can, of course, be set in a wider context about what a positive League campaign has been for us – which it undoubtedly has. But now, in the hours leading up to the game, is not the time to do this. Today it’s all about the game itself, a title decider both counties will be doing their best to win.
Kerry will be hard to beat today. They’ve never beaten easily at the best of times, they’re even harder to get the better of when taking them on at Croke Park, with silverware on offer up the steps in the Hogan Stand.
Which means our performance levels will need to be higher today than they’ve been all year. Way higher, for sure, than when we last played at HQ, higher even than the cracking display we put in down in Tralee a few weeks back when we ended Kerry’s unbeaten run in this year’s Division One campaign.
Performing well in big games at Croke Park hasn’t been a problem for us in recent years. Today’s team contains plenty of survivors from those heady times, augmented by newer faces for whom today’s decider offers the opportunity to cut a dash on the big stage.
This League campaign has gone as well as could have been wished for James Horan and the team he’s gradually assembling for the summer action that’s now drawing so close. What a boost it would be for all of them to close out this part of the year on the high of lifting a national title at Croke Park.
They’ll give everything, we can be sure, in pursuit of that goal today. Our job, as ever, as supporters is to roar them on their way. Best of luck to James and the lads, in particular good luck to those players tasting the big game experience for the very first time. We can do this. Up Mayo.