Our second FBD match takes place this coming Sunday at Charlestown where we face IT Sligo (not Sligo IT, as I’ve incorrectly been calling them since, I guess, the inception of this site) in what the Red Tops could, if they decided to focus on the FBD, label as a mouth-watering, top-of-the-table (the Section A table, like), winner-takes-all showdown.
Seeing as we both won our opening matches in the FBD last weekend, the winners at Fr O’Hara Park on Sunday can, I suppose, start looking forward to an appearance in the FBD final next month but both sides are, of course, thinking more about other challenges that lie ahead. The students are about to face into the Sigerson and our lads are gearing up for what’s likely to be a searching NFL campaign (and that’s before we even start to think about the summer action).
On that note, Johnno’s post-match comments (handily linkable via this story in Hogan Stand) in which he explained why he’d decided to go somewhat nuclear with his team selection for the NUIG match last Sunday were, I thought, quite illuminating. Johnno said, quite simply, that “we needed match practice for guys that will be playing in the national league” but he did also point out that “other fellas will get game time” in the remaining two FBD matches. None of this would have been a problem, of course, had we just ignored the pre-Christmas training ban like everyone else but I think that particular issue has been well enough aired at this stage so let’s not go there again (sez he going there again).
Whatever about the need to gird our loins ahead of our upcoming clash with the Fat Controller’s new charges at McHale Park at the start of next month, it would, I think, be good to see more experimentation in our line-up over the next two weeks. For starters, we could do a whole load worse than check out a few alternative options at corner-back, where the apparent incumbency of Donal Vaughan and Keith Higgins isn’t one to inspire confidence in our ability to keep the umpires from reaching for their flags on an all too regular basis. Neither should we be too concerned about building up an unbeaten run going into the NFL: much as I like winning streaks, even I can see it would be slightly OTT to view the FBD as an end in itself.
Sunday’s match at Charlestown will give us (well, those of you who will be at it – I’ll be on the couch rebeaming PJ’s text messages to the world and humming along to Dr Hook) an early chance to see the gimp of a few of the Sligo lads who are likely to be facing us for real at Markievicz Park in early June. Lads like Stephen Coen, Gary Gaughan and Mayo native Alan Costello (who last year declared for the Yeats County) should be worth keeping an eye on as well as the two Mayo lads on the IT Sligo team, Crossmolina’s Sean Kelly and Aghamore’s Alan Freeman. Throw-in at Fr O’Hara Park is at 2 pm on Sunday.
Elsewhere, I see that Liam McHale is bigging us (well, sort of) to do well this year, providing we play to our potential. That’s kinda obvious, isn’t it? If we play shite, we’re not really going to do well but if we play well, then we might. I should go into football management, I think.