It’s a rare and rather strange situation in Gaelic football to be faced with a competitive match in which there’s absolutely no pressure on either side to get a result. That’s the position both ourselves and Meath find ourselves in today.
A large part of this is the GAA’s own doing. Had they rewarded the North and South divisional winners with a home semi-final then today’s game would be one that would be definitely worth winning but they didn’t do this. And because it’s as clear as muck who’ll finish where in the South division there’s no point trying to game the outcome of the contest in MacHale Park either in the hope that you might end up with an easier semi-final.
As an aside, the GAA have made a total hames of the arrangements for the League semi-final ties. Home advantage for these very important promotion/relegation matches is apparently going to be given to teams who only played one match at home in the group round of games.
But in a one-off game of this kind, home advantage is potentially a major leg-up and it’d be much fairer to play these games at neutral venues. Sometimes you really do wonder why the GAA get decisions like this so obviously wrong but they do, and often.
Anyway, I digress but it’s easy to do so when faced with today’s contest at MacHale Park. When faced as we are today with a competitive match that isn’t a must-win one, it’s easy for the mind to wander.
Today’s game offers the chance to see a number of players who either haven’t featured before or who haven’t been seen for a while. It would be great if some of the lads coming really shone this afternoon, thereby making a few of James Horan’s selection decisions for the Championship a lot tougher.
Aside from that, there’s little more to say about today’s contest. As ever, the hope has to be that the team performs well and it’d be no harm either if we won the game and so kept this short winning streak going as we gear up for that promotion decider in a fortnight and then the knockout Connacht SFC meeting with Sligo two weeks after that.
Today also sees the first outing for the 2021 version of the alternative Mayo jersey. Based on a design submitted by six year-old Aoife Dunne, you’ll find more about the new jersey here. Congrats to Aoife on winning the design competition and seeing her idea for the jersey become reality.
The reality I’d like to see a bit later on today is an improved showing from us on last weekend and a win over the Royals, who last tasted victory against us at MacHale Park way back in 1962. That was also in Division Two of the League, a match, incidentally, played six months before I was born.
There you go – I knew I’d find a reason for us to want to win today: never in my lifetime have we lost to today’s opposition at MacHale Park and we’re not going to start now. And I didn’t even have to mention 1996 either.
Let’s do this. Up Mayo.