Johnno (and his peers) on the championship

The GAA held a shindig at Croke Park yesterday to officially launch this year’s Bank of Ireland Senior Football championship, which gets underway on 13th May. Four ‘leading’ managers were there: Pillar (of course, dis being a media event, you need de Dubs dere), Mickey Harte from Tyrone, Kerry’s new man Pat O’Shea and, of course, our own media-friendly Supremo.

They all had stuff to say. Pillar: “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet”. He could be right – this time they might well cock it up before they leave Leinster (the leavetaking would only be in a metaphoric sense, of course, as the Dubs mustn’t, under any circumstances, be parted from their adoring legions on the Hill). Mickey was hoping his injury list would clear up. Well, seeing as half his squad has been crocked for the past year, that’s a reasonable hope to have. Pat: “the hunger is right”. Isn’t it always down there, where the word “sated” isn’t in the lexicon? And our own man, who had stuff to say about the year to date, the injuries, how he thinks we’ll do and who the main challengers will be.

Obviously, he’s happy enough with how things have been shaping up thus far, making the point that, despite the disappointment of losing the league final, it was a good campaign for us. Modest chap that he is, he didn’t point out that he’d hauled us back from the brink of despair following the All-Ireland and turned us back into a fighting force once again (and that’s just the supporters).

On injuries, it looks as if DB, Trev and Marty Mac will be okay for Galway. He also said that Ronan is making excellent progress and could feature at some point over the Summer. Barry Moran and Kenneth O’Malley are unlikely to be back for another 4-6 weeks, ruling them out of the Galway match but they’ll probably be fit for the one after. Johnno provided no new info on Super Mac, apart from saying he remained hopeful that he’d take some part in the Summer’s action. Hmmmm . . .

On prospects, Johnno’s obviously looking no further than the Galway game at this stage and it’s significant, I think, that he lists them as realistic contenders for the All-Ireland. He’s right, you know – they’re a bloody good side and we’re going to have one hell of a fight on our hands on the 20th if we’re to get past them. Johnno obviously doesn’t want to end up in the qualifiers – despite having won an All-Ireland via that route with Galway in 2001 – and he identifies avoiding such a fate as “a priority”. Correction, O Great One. THE priority. Look after that and, the way the opinion polls are going, that third FG seat in Mayo could follow of its own accord.

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