I’ve been chasing my tail a bit today and so have had little or no time to set down any considered thoughts about last night’s draw for the 2010 Connacht championship. Maybe that’s just as well, given that the action won’t get underway for seven months or so and, in any event, what’s done is done.
I think it’s an okay enough draw, given that Sligo in Markievicz Park represent a decent challenge to start things off. While the Magpies have tended to keep their best performances for the qualifiers, Kevin Walsh has whipped them into a decent enough side and they gave Galway a fair old run for their money in Markievicz Park this year. However, it was the way that they ran Kerry close down in Tralee in the qualifiers that will have raised hopes in Sligo about where the team is headed and so we can expect them to fancy their chances of giving us a right good rattle when we show up at their place next May.
Whoever wins that one should be well prepared for Galway in the semi-final, with the Tribesmen coming virtually cold into this contest, as the only prep they’ll have had will have been their second jaunt to New York under Joe Kernan’s tutelage. There’s no point in speculating about how we might fare out against Galway – which, if it happens, should attract the first full house to the new model McHale Park – so it’s as well to let that one rest for now.
In what is a seriously lop-sided draw, Roscommon and Leitrim will both fancy their chances of making the final (London might even be entertaining a few fanciful hopes of their own for 2010 with this draw) but with the Rossies scheduled to play Leitrim at home next year, you’d have to think that they’d be favourites to make it through to the final from that side of the draw.
The bottom line for us is that in order to retain the Nestor Cup next summer, we’ll need to beat Sligo, Galway and, most likely, Roscommon in that order. If we can manage to do that, then we might be better prepared for the rigours of an All-Ireland quarter-final than we were this year. If we’re not, then we can, I fear, prepare ourselves for a campaign resembling that aimless effort in 2007. And the weather’ll probably be as bad as it was then too.