Photo: Galway Bay FM
I’m just back in the door from a day in the west, where, in sizzling Bekan, I attended the official launch of this year’s Connacht championship. The weather was absolutely glorious there today, perfect conditions to fire the starting gun for this year’s provincial championship west of the Shannon.
Whether or not the provincial championships should continue to exist at all is a question being posed like never before and it was an issue that at least got a bit of an airing today. As you’d expect, the official line from the Connacht Council officers who spoke at the event was that the current format still has merit.
Local rivalries, the joys of getting one over on the neighbours and the dreams harboured by smaller counties of claiming provincial silverware were the main lines of argument rolled out to defend the status quo. All fairly weak and rather dated justifications, in other words, for a structure that will see precious few contests of note between now and the August Bank Holiday weekend.
To be fair, however, the outcome of this year’s Connacht title is – as Mick Rock noted at the event – anything but pre-ordained. We may be the favourites for the Nestor Cup but we’re not the defending champions in the west and, if we do manage to come out on top, we’re unlikely to have as easy a time as Dublin and Kerry will surely have in negotiating their respective ways to provincial success.
The main reason I was down sunning myself in Bekan today was to meet up with Rob Murphy to record the first Mayo News football podcast of the summer. More on that over the next few days but, including as it did interesting chats with the likes of Stephen Rochford and Cillian O’Connor (piece with him for RTÉ here), you can be assured that the opening podcast of this year’s championship campaign will be well worth a listen.