I know I was the one who was talking about the need to chill out and all that but what I’ve been up to in the days since wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I’ve just completed a stay of four nights in the hospital – with a good chunk of the first one making my weary way through A&E – and having regained my liberty earlier on today, I can assure you that I’ve had my fill of that particular kind of chilling out. It’s not for nothing that patients are so termed.
Anyway, back out in the real world (that photo above, by the way, which was taken on Bloomsday was the view I had from within the hospital out towards Eccles Street and beyond) I haven’t really missed a whole load of GAA action. Indeed, I didn’t miss any of it as there was precious little else to be doing in there only watching all the live sporting action on TV. The hurling from Thurles was riveting enough, the football from Clones less so, though inevitably I was more drawn into the latter rather than the former, given that we might well ending up crossing swords with one or other of them before this championship campaign has run its course.
Monaghan did well to come away from Sunday’s quarter-final with their Ulster title still in their possession, though they had Eddie Kinsella’s parsimonious helping of injury time combined with Tyrone’s own failure to convert that last-gasp free to thank for their narrow escape to victory and a semi-final date with Armagh. I wasn’t overly impressed with either side last Sunday, I have to say, and although Donegal still have Antrim to get past before they can contemplate another Ulster final appearance, it’s hard not to think that Jimmy’s Winning Matches won’t be getting a reprise or two between now and the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Closer to home, you’ll have seen the reports by now – the one on GAA.ie is here – about Andy Moran’s hamstring having flared up following his off-the-bench cameo at Hyde Park. There’s more positive news, however, in the Mayo News (paper and digital versions), which confirms that Barry Moran came through last Sunday’s club League match against Ballina okay and the same paper also states that Jason Gibbons is expected back in action for Ballintubber next weekend.
Hopefully, by the time James gets around to pick his team for the Connacht final, we’ll be at – or very close to – a fully-fit squad, which would make a welcome change from the situation over the last few years. But before we get to this point, of course, we first need to find out who it is that’ll be facing us on July 13th in this year’s provincial decider.
Saturday evening’s semi-final at Markiewicz Park pits Galway – fresh from dealing emphatically with that potentially awkward trip to Ruislip – against Sligo, one of the final few counties left that have yet to kick a ball in anger this summer. The Magpies’ recent record against the Tribesmen is a good one – with wins in 2010 (in a replay) and again in 2012 (a first-ever championship win for them on Galway soil) – but despite home advantage this coming Saturday, the Yeats County are outsiders in this one. Galway are priced at 4/9 with Paddy Power to end this losing streak and set up the first Old Firm Connacht final since way back in 2009.
But who do you reckon will do the business under bare Ben Bulben’s head this coming Saturday evening? Time to test the waters on this one.
Who'll win on Saturday evening?
- Galway (78%, 126 Votes)
- Sligo (22%, 36 Votes)
Total Voters: 162