We’re back at base in Dublin, I’m back at work and there’s plenty of catching up to do. Sunday’s match is fading rapidly into the background as this coming Sunday’s Round Two with the Kerrymen starts to come into focus.
The first port of call today (I know the day is half over already but it’s turning out to be that kind of day) should, as Gerard pointed out in the comments this morning, Sean Rice’s wonderful call to arms in this week’s Mayo News – read it here.
For a change, I got to read the paper version of the Mayo News this week, having picked up a copy while in Castlebar yesterday afternoon. Sean nails superbly the point about how, as a team, we have to start believing in our own ability to do the business against the Kingdom. Fuck the Gooch (not literally, I hasten to add), forget about what this legend or that legend might do to us – as Sean points out, it’s “high time Mayo played Kerry with the courage and conviction they showed against Dublin.” He’s right, you know – we didn’t show the Dubs any respect the other week and look where that got us. We simply have to approach Kerry with the same mindset if we’re to have any chance of doing a number on them.
The more I think about it, this is really the match where we should be aiming to end this long, dismal run of Croke Park defeats to Kerry. Just because it’s the league doesn’t mean that Kerry won’t be bulling to win it: every single year that Jack O’Connor has led Kerry to All-Ireland success, he has first started that year with a league victory and every year they haven’t won the All-Ireland under O’Connor, they haven’t won the league either. So the league is a big deal for Jack O’Connor’s Kerry and so we should be doing everything within our powers to upset that particular applecart.
In this regard, it’s good to see that James Horan is talking about fielding his “strongest team” on Sunday and that he intends to “really have a go” at taking out the Kingdom in the semi-final. It’ll be interesting to see what that team is too because James has, like last year, used the league campaign largely for experimentation purposes. If he does go ahead and name his strongest fifteen then Sunday’s team will, for the first time, give us an idea about his likely championship formation as well. I’m not sure when the team will be announced but I suppose it’ll be later in the week.
There’s a piece in the Irish Times today about the team’s forthcoming training camp in Portugal, which is really an article about several counties’ trips to Portugal and has some other GAA-related bits and pieces included for good measure as well. A miscellany I think is what you’d call it.
Finally, the County Board have this morning provided information about tickets for Sunday – full details here. The short version of this is that if you have the Cairde Mhuigheo season ticket you can’t just roll up at HQ and have it scanned, you need instead to pick up a specific ticket for the game from McHale Park either tonight or tomorrow night (6.30-9.30pm) or, if you can’t do this (it’s not just you, I can’t either) then you need to call them on (094) 90250487 or (087) 2226236 to make alternative arrangements to collect your ticket. That same link above also provides full details on how to get tickets for Sunday and what they’re priced at for those of you who don’t currently hold season tickets.