So, it appears pretty much certain that the resumption of inter-county action will happen next weekend. For a brief period last Thursday it looked as if the GAA might be having second thoughts about playing out the remaining fixtures in the National League – a development reported on that day by the Irish Examiner – but this was quickly scotched following a meeting that night involving the GAA’s management committee and the Chairs of the County Boards where it was confirmed that it was full-steam ahead for next weekend.
While finishing the Leagues seems an odd hill for the GAA to risk dying on, the decision has now been taken and county teams have no choice but to row in with what’s been decided. Some counties, notably Fermanagh, could face difficulties fulfilling their allotted fixtures next weekend but the rollout of rapid Covid testing for inter-county teams should help matters in what’s certain to be an evolving situation over the coming weeks.
For us, next weekend involves a Division One clash with the high-flying neighbours at Tuam, a game we really have to win if we’re to have any chance of staying in the League’s top tier for next season. But will there even be a League campaign in 2021? It’s definitely hard to imagine the usual slate of seven games in nine weeks starting at the end of January next year.
I think it’s fair to say that the prospect of Division Two football comes well down the list of concerns for most people right now. Notwithstanding that, however, I’m sure it’s an outcome James Horan and his team will be keen to avoid if at all possible so I think we can expect a high-octane return to action next Sunday, given all that’s at stake.
The match against Galway throws in at Tuam Stadium next Sunday at 2pm. TG4 are showing it live and Maurice Deegan of Laois is the ref for it.
I guess there’ll be team announcements at some point over the coming few days. I think we’re also doing a preview episode of the Mayo News football podcast at some stage, to mark the resumption of inter-county action. As a result, you can expect a bit more activity than there’s been for a while here on the blog over the coming week.
In other news, it was announced earlier today that Mike Solan has stepped down as Mayo U20 manager, having held the position for five years. A productive tenure it was too for the Ballaghaderreen club man, as he led what was then the Mayo U21 team to a memorable All-Ireland title victory in 2016 and two years later he brought another crop of young players to an U20 All-Ireland final.
Mike deserves our thanks and praise for his sterling efforts as U20 manager. That day in Ennis on Mayo Day in 2016 will live long in the memory for many Mayo fans, myself and my young lad included.