Looking out once again on the wind and the rain and the cold (I know, of that trio you can only see the middle one but you know what I mean), the notion of braving the elements on Sunday for a poxy old FBD match doesn’t sound too appetising. But, it is the Sheepstealers we’ll be playing – for the first time since we met in this same competition this time last year – and so it’ll be the first competitive (ish) inter-county match of the new year for us.
130 miles and a trip to London in the meantime stand between me and a possible trip to the ‘Haunis on Sunday – and the weather looks like it could be crap enough then as well – but I’m still thinking it might be worth the trip, given that (a) it’s been five months since I’ve last seen the lads in action, (b) my car is okay once again – it had started to sound like a tractor the other day but it turned out it needed a new coil (which I had always thought was a contraceptive device but then again I know very, very little about cars) – and could do with a bit of a run and (c) I’m now the proud owner of a pair of thermals which could also do with some pre-NFL road-testing. I’m trying to inveigle The Brother to join me on the trip but he’s not answering his mobile so I’m not sure if he’s up for the trip either. Still, there’s plenty of time left yet to decide about what to do come Sunday.
Given that it is just the FBD, it’s sure to be the same kind of experimental line-up but I’d be interested to see the gimp of guys like Stephen Drake – whom Sean Rice was touting as a possible answer at full-back a full year ago and who finally was given the chance to line out there last Sunday – and, at the other end of the field, Barry Regan. The Mayo News says that Alan Dillon, Pat Harte and Trevor Mortimor could be back for the match on Sunday but, to be honest, I’d prefer to see more experimentation in a game like this. We know from past experience that the shape of the team tends to firm up early enough in the year (much too early in the year, given the way we’ve then had to unpick the team all over again these past two summers) so there’s little to be gained from giving more established players a run-out when the opportunity could instead be used to give some game time to a few of the fringe players.
That’s it: London’s calling tomorrow morning and, once I get back on Friday evening, I can make a decision one way or the other about what to do on Sunday.