It’s match day once more, a bit of a white one in these parts up in the capital, with snow showers still swirling down from a leaden sky. Having stuck my nose out the door this morning and sniffed the air, however, I think I’ll chance it. Castlebar here we come.
Today’s NFL Division One Round 6 match against Tyrone marks another important test for us. Kildare were relegated last night but there’s still one spot in the bottom two of the division to be filled and it looks like it’ll be ourselves, Tyrone or Donegal that’ll end up occupying it.
A win for us today will go a long way – the entire way, should Donegal fail to beat Monaghan this afternoon – towards ensuring that we avoid that second relegation spot. For now, our fate rests solely in our own hands.
So, the result is, first and foremost, what it’s all about today. And not just to help preserve our long-running top tier status either. Our home record is little short of embarrassing at this stage and it’s time we started to do something about it.
Our task against Tyrone today is far from straightforward. We’re never at our best taking on a blanket defence, still less doing so in the tight confines of MacHale Park, but, in freezing cold weather, that’s the job facing the lads today.
They won’t, as usual, want for support in their endeavours. A large crowd is set to brave the cold in Castlebar this afternoon, with the big home following eager to enjoy some overdue home comforts. And maybe, just maybe, being there to see Cillian become our all-time top scorer into the bargain.
If Cillian – assuming he starts, which you’d have to think he will – is on song, then that’s half the battle. But we’ll also need tight defending, tigerish competition around the middle and better economy of shooting up front to help us on our way today too.
Last Sunday against Kildare, the lads provided the first hints about a return to summer form. We’ll need more than vague nods in that direction if we’re to do the business today and it’s the hope of seeing firm evidence of such an upward trend in form that makes me eager to hit the road shortly for Castlebar.
Best of luck to the lads today and good luck to the hurlers too as they shoot for NHL Division 2B honours against Down up at Breffni Park this afternoon. They’ve had a great League campaign and it’d be brilliant if Derek Walsh’s team could finish their run with the Divisional title and promotion to their credit.
Stay safe, all, and wrap up well. Back later on with the usual post-match stuff. Up Mayo.