After the rain and the wind in Salthill last Sunday, it’s back to home turf tonight where the breezes are expected to be lighter, the rain should hold off and the generator will be humming loudly to power the lights at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park.
A big crowd is expected at tonight’s game – on our Here Comes the Weekend pod, Mike was saying that it’s likely to be more that 15,000 – where All-Ireland champions Dublin provide the opposition for this Round 2 National League Division One clash. Fergal Kelly of Longford is the ref, he’ll be throwing in the ball tonight at 7.30pm and the match is live on RTÉ2, with radio commentary on Midwest as well.
When the Dubs comes to town, it’s always a big night in Castlebar. Every time they’ve rocked up at MacHale Park since 2012, however, they’ve dominated proceedings and they go into tonight’s game on the back of four straight wins in this fixture at our place.
This is a record – part of a wider issue about our extremely poor home form against all-comers – we need to put straight. Tonight would be an excellent night to do this, not just to get the win as an end in itself but, more importantly, to back up last weekend’s excellent opening round showing against Galway.
The win in Pearse Stadium has been well raked over at this stage. We did a lot right in that game but the rather shocking shortcomings in Galway’s display surely tempers any over-enthusiasm about how we played.
Even though Dublin come into tonight’s game off the back of an unexpected reversal against Monaghan at Croke Park last weekend, they’re sure to be a completely different proposition for us compared to Galway last time out. That loss to the Farney lads puts Dessie Farrell’s side under a bit of pressure and so they’ll turn up tonight seeking to make amends and claim points from a game that they’ll clearly have targeted to win.
You’d like to think that this fixture is one that Kevin McStay and his colleagues would have circled as a must-win one too. Our home record in general is embarrassing and our record in Castlebar against the Dubs is particularly poor so we should – as Colm Boyle has said more than once on the pod in recent weeks – be doing everything in our power to secure the right result tonight.
I still have a cross-country drive to do so I’m going to leave it there for now. Back later on with a match report from MacHale Park, with club members having a Final Whistle pod to look forward to after the game as well. We’ll also, by the way, be doing a Final Whistle show after the LGFA National League game against Dublin at Ballina tomorrow afternoon, a match I’m really looking forward to getting to as well.
So, here’s to us giving a double dose to the Dubs. That would certainly make for a satisfactory Bank Holiday weekend. Right, time to get moving. Up Mayo.