It’s always the Tuesday before a big match before the countdown gets going properly (for us lot at any rate – the players and management have been planning and plotting about the game from much further out). Well, it’s Tuesday so it’s fair to conclude that the countdown to Sunday’s Connacht championship semi-final against Roscommon at Hyde Park has now begun.
First off, there’s some important ticketing info from the County Board, in case you haven’t seen it – full details here. It’s unreserved seating in the stand at Hyde Park so the key thing if you’re heading for the stand is to get in early. The curtain raiser is the Connacht Intermediate hurling final between ourselves at the Rossies, which has a midday throw-in time, so aiming to be there for the start of that one should guarantee you a seat in the stand.
Roger has already mentioned that interesting piece in today’s Indo with Kevin McStay, which covers much of the same ground as that included in Kevin’s column on the match in this week’s Mayo News. I think that Ballina man makes a good point when he says that small changes are what could get us over the line this year. Those advocating a rip-it-up-and-start-again approach seem to forget that the current set-up have got us three Connacht titles in a row and back-to-back All-Ireland final appearances in the past two years. As a result, expecting anything this year other than incremental change isn’t realistic, nor, Kevin argues, is it necessary.
The Indo also has a piece on injury news, which contains some good tidings for us and not-so-good dispatches from the Rossies’ camp. The Mayo News (paper and digital versions) also has some encouraging news on this front from our perspective. While Jason Gibbons is definitely out and the Mayo News reports that Tom Parsons has been ruled out too (with a hamstring problem), the same paper says that both Barry Moran and Chris Barrett are good to go as is Alan Dillon. Ger Cafferkey and Alan Freeman – who both missed the New York game – are also fit and ready so it looks as if James will be picking from a fairly full deck for Sunday.
Roscommon’s concerns appear to be centred around their important defender David Keenan, who featured against Leitrim but who looks set to miss Sunday’s semi-final due to a hamstring problem. In addition, his obvious replacement – U21 player Conor Daly – is still out of action due to the injury he picked up in the U21 All-Ireland final. The Rossies apparently have a few other players with bumps and bruises besides but none of these are likely to impact on John Evans’ team selection for Hyde Park.