It’s a quiet old time on the GAA front, what with the lads breaking their collective holes in training and nothing for those of us on the ditch to do except to salivate over when the next challenge match is going to be. Just as well there’s all this post-election jockeying in the UK to keep a man occupied, though it appears that that little sideshow is nearing its conclusion too. So, challenge matches it is then, hombres.
I think we’ve all got plenty of info on last Friday evening’s match up in Donegal but, in case you haven’t, here’s the match report on it from the Mayo News. The one tidbit worth noting from this account of the proceedings at Glenfin is that centre-back (for the night at least) Donie Vaughan got a belt on the gob that necessitated his withdrawal at half-time, which meant (I’m guessing here) that it was Kieran Conroy who replaced him at 6 for the second-half. (It could have been Peadar Gardiner, I suppose, but I doubt it). Like Kremlinologists in the bad old days, I guess we’ll all be hunkered down over the coming few weeks, seeing if we can divine any fresh clues about who is likely to wear this key jersey for us over the summer. It seems to be a shortlist of Vaughan, Conroy and, perhaps, Cunniffe but it’s far from clear at this stage who will play there for us in the next challenge game, never mind in the championship.
For those of you in the vicinity, Belmullet is the place to be on Saturday evening as this is where the lads will be having their next run-out. This time the opposition will be Cavan, whom we’re playing for the first time since our qualifier meeting in McHale Park back in early July 2007, and throw-in at Belmullet – where they’re celebrating the refurbishment of the pitch and dressing rooms – is set for 7 pm. I don’t think they’ve any floodlights down there (don’t mention the war!) but, sure, it doesn’t get dark in those parts ’till close to midnight at this time of year so there should be no problems on that score.
Apart from the upcoming reprise of the Big Wind Final, we have a number of other challenge matches to come ahead of our Connacht championship opener with Sligo, which is now just three weeks away this coming Saturday. John Maughan let the gato out of the bolsa the other day by revealing that there are matches lined up against Cork (is this a best-of-three decider or what?), Westmeath and Dublin between now and 5th June but I don’t know if all of these are going to be publicised widely in advance. As far as I know, the one against the Dubs will be up here, though I don’t have any details yet of when it’s planned for. All I know is that I’ll once more have to suffer the ignominy of carting my small fella to it, in the knowledge that he’ll be lending his support to the opposition – just like he did in Portmarnock this time last year, the little bollix. Challenging times, indeed.