Happy Vernal Equinox, people.
In normal times, my spirits tend to lift at this point of the year as we start to get close to when the days become ridiculously long and the dark evenings are no more than a distant memory. It’s a bit harder these days to feel the same kind of positive vibes but at least summer is on the way and, one hopes, the bloody Covid vaccine as well.
There are a few pieces in the media with Mayo players inside the last few days, which are worth a mention, if only as there’s not a whole pile else to talk about right now.
Let’s start with Diarmuid O’Connor, who did a few media slots to tie in with the launch of the new Mayo jersey. You’ll find different versions of what he had to say in the Irish Examiner, Irish Mirror, Connaught Telegraph, Sky Sports.
In these Diarmuid reflects on the slew of recent retirements, which he concedes will be “massive losses” this year, though he believes that the “huge array” of talent which emerged last year will cushion the blow somewhat. Diarmuid, who at 26 is now looking forward to his eighth campaign at Senior level, also talks about how he’s now regarded as one of the elder statesmen on the panel, which of course he is at this stage.
Paddy looks back to last December’s All-Ireland final, confirming that he was injured from as early as four minutes after the throw-in. He suffered another pull to his quad before the first water break that evening and, sadly, was gone by half-time. Like Diarmuid, Paddy is enthused about the influx of new talent into the Senior panel and he reckons there’ll be further changes in playing personnel this year.
Cathal is clearly relishing the prospect of Keith Higgins lining out on a regular basis for the hurlers this year, now that the Ballyhaunis player has called time on his stellar inter-county football career. Cathal reckons that Zippy would get into the Galway hurling team, such is his small-ball ability, and that his addition to the Mayo team represents a major boost for them, which it so obviously does.
There’s also a piece in today’s Irish Times by Malachy Clerkin, in which I feature speaking about the results archive, but I’m afraid there isn’t a link available for that one yet so you’ll just have to get the paper if you want to see it. Go on, you know you do. UPDATE: That piece is now online and you’ll find it here.
Right, that’s your lot for now. Back tomorrow with another extract from my unfinished symphony.