I’m back, a bit frazzled after the wedding, truth be told, which was a lovely occasion held at an utterly original and unique venue. The only downer on the day was, of course, what I was hearing – only faintly, as the mobile coverage was very poor where I was located – in the dispatches from Castlebar.
Before talking about what the result of yesterday’s game means for us, though, I want to salute guest contributor Cian Mortimer who penned his first match report for the blog last night. I think you’ll agree with me that he did so in an impressive, no-nonsense manner.
I know from bitter experience just how hard it can be to get the words to flow in any kind of coherent manner after a game in which the result doesn’t go the desired way. I can, then, appreciate what a task Cian had when opening his laptop yesterday evening. Fair play to him, he carried it out with considerable aplomb and well done to him for that.
Well done to Roscommon too. God knows, they’ve suffered long and hard at our hands down the years and while last night’s result represents a calamitous setback for us, it marks a significant breakthrough for them. It’s only right and fair to congratulate them without reservation on their fine win and to wish them well in the Connacht final, which I’m happy to do on both counts.
From our perspective, of course, last night was a veritable car crash. I didn’t see the game myself but I’ve had a fair few chats about it since and have read all the post-match comments posted here. As a result, I’ve got, I think, a fairly good handle on what happened and why it did.
The ramifications of the defeat are profound and hugely sobering for us. Four years now without a Connacht final appearance – our worst run since we failed to contest a provincial decider for nine years between 1956 and 1963 – and yet another perilous qualifier campaign facing us.
I don’t know about the rest of you but, right now, I’ve got zero enthusiasm for the road that lies ahead of us. How far we get depends, in large part, on the draws (that’s only a plural, by the way, if we manage to progress from one round to the next) we pull and our stomach for the battles that lie ahead.
It’s not an easy road but it’s the route upon which our performance last night has now directed us. As I said in my pre-match post early yesterday morning – which now seems like an eternity ago – losing last night’s match was always going to have profound consequences. It’s now our fate that we’ll discover in the coming weeks just what this enormous setback will mean for us and our hopes of progression in this year’s Championship.