We still have to go out tomorrow and prove them all correct but the world and his spouse clearly expects us to do one on the Dubs tomorrow. RTÉ, the Times and the Herald all say we’ll win it, we’re holding solid at 8/13 with Paddy Power and 79% of you (91% if the dunnos are excluded) have predicted that we will indeed do it. Right – better get to it, then.
I share pretty much most of this optimism, even if I also concur with TIALTNGO’s view that, win or no win, we still can’t be wholly sure how we’re shaping up this year. My own outlook is a simple enough one – we’re putting out a settled and largely experienced side whereas Pat Gilroy is still experimenting widely with his team. With four games and a draw from our first five matches of the year, we’re on a bit of a roll at the moment and while the upcoming trips to Derry, Tralee and Cork will make the maintenance of this unbeaten run difficult to pull off over the coming weeks, we should, I think, have enough in the tank to do the business tomorrow, not least because we’re once again playing them on our own patch.
There’s very little being said about the game up here – down at the mini-leagues in Vins this morning there was hardly a mention of it. No more than ourselves, the Dubs lads are hugely wary of getting their hopes up and they’re realistic enough to know that the road back to redemption from last year’s annihilation by Kerry is likely to be slow and painful. They’re happy enough with the start they’ve made to the NFL but a few of the Dublin fans I’ve spoken with are sharply critical of what they see as an overly negative style of play, one that’ll be hard to put to good effect in high summer.
If the Dubs try such an ultra-defensive approach with us tomorrow, they may have cause to regret it because we’ve been moving the ball at a good old clip in our matches to date and we could end up making hay against their backline. Mind you, our own defence still has a few question marks over it so it might not be all one-way traffic. Still, if it comes to a shoot-out, I’d be confident enough about our ability, Ronaldo or no Ronaldo, to come out on top.
I’ll be spending most of tomorrow on the road, covering the guts of three hundred miles to get to Castlebar and back. I remember feeling more than a little peeved when I got back from Ballina after last year’s corresponding fixture as the quality of football was such that it certainly didn’t merit putting in all those miles but I’m hopeful that tomorrow’s performance will.
I’ll be doing my now normal ringside post-match audio after the final whistle sounds and then, later on, a full report on the day’s action. Till then.