Another Monday morning, another day full of hard choices to make. Beach or pool? In the water or out? Pizza or pasta? Beer or wine (or both)? You get the idea. Okay, that’s enough grigging for now, I think.
Back in the real world of the championship, there’s only six days to go now until a new verse gets added to the ‘Will Galway Bate Mayo’ refrain. I guess the team will be announced on Wednesday or Thursday night (more likely the latter, I suppose) and so we’ll all have something concrete to mull over between then and 4pm on Sunday. We’re heading home on Friday night so I’ll even be partly acclimatised to the colder (and wetter?) conditions again before heading west to Salthill.
The weekend’s action and the qualifier draw threw up a few talking points. Well, I nearly threw up at any rate, when I saw that those jammy fuckers in Green and Gold had pulled another soft one from the hat. All they need next is to draw either Antrim or Limerick and their first-gear stroll to the All-Ireland series will have been completed. Will they open up with all guns blazing at that point? If Donaghy is fully fit they might but a tough quarter-final draw – they really deserve to pull Tyrone at this stage, given how they’ve managed to avoid anyone above NFL Division 3 status to date – could see them fail to reach the last four for the first time in ages.
My little Jackeens were clinging onto their poolside loungers for a while yesterday afternoon as the furious battery of incoming texts from PJ and The Brother (and The Da) kept us updated on every twist and turn in what sounded like a cracking Leinster final. With Brennan gone, Connolly’s head somewhere in outer space and Whelan already on by half-time, it looked as if an evening of counselling with my small people lay ahead for me but instead the Dubs dug out a gritty three-point win.
That match will have done wonders for Pat Gilroy’s team: it’s been a while since they had to scrap for a Leinster title so they should pitch up at the quarters in better shape next month than they did at any stage during the hapless Pillar’s tenure. Gilroy will have learned a bit about his team too, most notably that his slap-happy clubmate isn’t the man for the key centre-back position. I’m not sure Cullen is either but at least he doesn’t go out of his way to clock the opposition and with Brennan now suspended for the quarters, Cullen will get the chance to reclaim the no.6 jersey.
Can the Dubs go all the way? By the sounds of it, they’re still a work in progress but, then again, after that explosive start Cork seem to be back in a rut and Kerry haven’t got going at all yet. Tyrone are, well, Tyrone but while they’re always hard to beat, they’ve never managed to make any fist at retaining any of the three titles they’ve won this decade and I’m not sure they’ll succeed in doing so dish ear either. And, of course, there’s Galway and, of course, there’s Mayo too and we’ll be a hell of a lot wiser about both of them this day week.
Right, back to the sun. Before I go, though, Mick from Club Mayo Dublin was on to ask me for a plug in relation to their event this coming Wednesday (15th) at Dicey’s in Harcourt Street, which I’m happy to provide. It’s a table quiz, throw-in for which will be 7.30pm (full details here) so expect loads of tricky questions about Mayo line-ups dating back to 1934 or thereabouts. Oh and no cheating now, you hear: leave those iPhones and Blackberries at the door!