We’re back in Connacht Championship action this afternoon. Leitrim provide the opposition at MacHale Park in today’s Connacht SFC semi-final where throw-in is set for 2pm. Fergal Kelly of Longford is the ref and the match is being broadcast live on RTÉ with match commentary also available on Midwest Radio.
The Covid scare within the Mayo panel in recent days has given this match a rather unreal backdrop. While we’ve named a team for it, in reality we won’t know how we stand in relation to player availability until shortly before throw-in. Ahead of then, there’s really no point in speculating further on who will or won’t be lining out for us today.
Covid concerns or not, the reality for us us that we still have a knockout Championship match to play this afternoon. Regardless of our line-up, we’ll still be huge favourites to win this one.
This is understandable – we’ve had a good League and we come into this game having thumped Sligo in our opening provincial Championship tie two weeks ago whereas Leitrim are a struggling Division Four team who haven’t won a competitive match of any kind since before the initial Covid restrictions were put in place in spring of last year.
Our pandemic-related travails may give Leitrim more hope, though I guess that depends on the strength of the team we’re able to field today. But even if we have some withdrawals from our named team ahead of throw-in, we still have playing reserves that are deep enough to get the job done.
At a personal level, I’m really looking forward to this one, for the simple reason that I’m going to be there. I wasn’t intending to go but when the tickets went on sale online I couldn’t resist and so, with the young lad in tow, I’m readying myself to hit the road west.
It won’t, I know, be a match-day experience of the kind we were all used to in the world we once inhabited, back in that era before any of us knew the first thing about what a global pandemic is and what havoc it can cause. That carefree world is gone but the football is still with us and it’ll be great, after what has been a too-long absence, to be there at MacHale Park to see a game of football at first hand today.
So, there’s no further time for rumination here as I need to get going shortly. Because I’ll be at the game, though, I will (if I can still remember how to do this) be recording a post-match audio report and, all going well, that audio piece as well as the usual match report should both be up on the blog before I embark on the return journey to the capital.
Right, it’s time to go. Safe travelling to all of you who are also heading to Castlebar today. It’s game day, let’s win this game. Up Mayo.