The Messiah has been giving his reaction to Sunday’s win over Fermanagh in Clones. First off, he makes it clear (rightly) that the six points we’ve now got does not guarantee us Division 1 football next year. Of course it doesn’t: Donegal are the only ones in that happy position at this stage, with ourselves, Kerry, the Dubs and Tyrone fighting for the other three slots. With ourselves and Kerry on six points and Dublin and Tyrone on four, it’s very tight and it’s easy to see us slide to fifth, were we to lose down in Cork while Dublin and Tyrone have their expected wins over Fermanagh and Limerick respectively. So The Man is spot on there. He’s also right that we can expect a backlash from Cork, following their craven capitulation to the Dubs at Parnell Park, and we know – from the way that they hammered Tyrone two weeks previously – that they can do far better, especially at home under the lights at Pairc Ui Rinn. This will definitely be a tough one for us.
Johnno also had kind words to say about the defence which, after that opening wobble, performed very well. Johnno appears to be building the side from the back and it looks as if he’s now got the backline he wants. I’d say that the back six that took the field in Clones will all be there when we face Galway in May, unless one of them gets injured or is taken severely to the cleaners in the interim. Needless to say, the same can’t be said (for various reasons) of midfield or the forwards but, by the end of the league campaign, we’ll have a good idea as to what the team for Galway will be.
In terms of injuries, Johnno says that Kevin O’Neill could be back for the Cork game but that David Brady is unlikely to make it. Pity – this is the kind of game where we could really do with DB’s combative presence but it will be good to have KoN back on board. I wonder will this mean giving him another run at centre-forward? In which case, what happens to the younger Brady? Finally, Johnno confirms that Ciaran McDonald is on the way back, but not just yet. He won’t be back “for the next game or two” according to The Boss but this leaves open the possibility that he might be back in time for the Tyrone match, where our possible participation in the play-offs could well be decided. It would have been nice to have him back to the face the Dubs: bet they would have loved to have seen him too. Maybe he could have, just for them, reprised his winning point into the Hill, only this time into the Bacon Factory End.