We’ve got to that point in the holiday where we’re thinking about those end-of-holiday issues like packing the suitcases, booking the taxi to the airport and wondering if the return flight will be delayed like the one on the way out was. In other words, our Italian sojourn is almost over and, by extension, the Connacht final is almost upon us.
As everyone knows, you can’t really have a Connacht final without a team announcement and the team has just been announced. Here it is:
MAYO (Connacht SFC final v Galway, 19/7/2009): Kenneth O’Malley; Liam O’Malley, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Peadar Gardiner, Trevor Howley, Andy Moran; David Heaney, Ronan McGarrity; Pat Harte, Trevor Mortimer, Alan Dillon; Aidan Kilcoyne, Barry Moran, Aidan O’Shea.
So, as you can see, those rumours about Ronan taking part in training over the weekend and being okay to play on Sunday were correct. He’s named to start in midfield in a team that’s the same as the one that was announced in advance of the Roscommon game. On that occasion, of course, Liam O’Malley failed a fitness test so Donal Vaughan started instead of him and the Burrishoole man will, I understand, need to undergo another such test prior to throw-in on Sunday. Unsurprisingly, Ronan will need to do the same and I guess if he’s cleared for take-off at that point, he might need to play with some kind of face protection gear.
Ronan’s return to action is a pretty sensational development (albeit a well trailed one) and, even if he doesn’t line out, the knowledge that he’s there in reserve (which I guess might be what happens in practice) will strengthen our hand in Salthill quite significantly. In contrast, Liam O’Malley’s return to the starting fifteen is no great surprise and, of course, if he’s not fit to line out then Donal Vaughan will, as he showed against Roscommon, be a more than adequate replacement. Barry Moran’s injury scare turned out to be no more than that and so the Twin Towers get another run-out, with Aidan Kilcoyne rewarded for his blistering opening 15 minutes in McHale Park by keeping his place in the corner to the exclusion of Conor.
In summary, then, it’s minimal change from the Roscommon game, which I guess is only to be expected after such a result the last day. Needless to say, there’ll be all kinds of Galway-centric match-ups to be sorted out on the day, most notably the one that’ll surely see Keith Higgins picking up Meehan, but we can wait till the day itself to see how these sub-plots unfold.
While we’re on the topic of teams, the minor side to face Roscommon in the curtain-raiser at Pearse Stadium on Sunday has also been announced this evening. Here it is:
MAYO (Connacht MFC final v Roscommon, 19/7/2009): Michael Slingerman; Michael Walsh, Keith Rogers, Dean Gavin; Keelan Crowe, Shane McDermott, Ciaran Charlton; Danny Kirby, Alex Corduff; Andrew Farrell, Darren Coen, Fergal Durkin; Brian Ruttledge, Aidan Walsh (captain), Cillian O’Connor.
That’s your lot: I’m now off to enjoy the small sliver of time that’s left of the holidays. Talk to you again as soon as that Northern rain has started to fall on my shoulders once more.