There’s all shades of opinion in the previews for tomorrow’s clash with Kildare but the majority favour us. (Aside on majorities: hopefully the majority in Zimbabwe will vote out that shyster Mugabe today and, more to the point, that any such vote is upheld. Anyone interested in the destruction of that country under Mugabe should read Peter Godwin’s excellent When a Crocodile Eats the Sun. It would make you think twice about moaning about how bad things can be there – we truly have no idea).
Okay, where was I? Oh yes, predictions and stuff. Let’s go with the majority first: the Times (sub required), Hogan Stand and Paddy Power all favour us. RTE (whose record in relation to our games has been quite good, it must be noted) goes for the Lilywhites and the Indo sits on the fence. Take your pick, in other words.
I’m in two minds about tomorrow’s game. Mind Number One says that it’s going to be a bloody tough encounter and, nice guys that we are, we don’t have too much of an appetite for such fun and games. Kildare have certainly toughened up under McGeeney and so we can expect that the opening exchanges will be on the robust side. How our lads (especially the smaller fellas and the young bucks) stand up to that could go a long way towards deciding this encounter. The attitude of the ref – our old friend from ’96, Pat McEnaney (how in the name of Jesus can that guy still be reffing?) – could be crucial in determining what kind of match this is. If it does turn out to be a tough, close one, we could have our work cut out to get something out of it, especially in front of the partisan Newbridge crowd (St Conleth’s Park is a tight enough ground and there’ll be a big attendance there tomorrow, I’d reckon).
Mind Number Two has quite a different scenario he’d like to posit. This is based on the way we’ve started most of our league matches this year brightly and the fact that we’re overdue banging in a goal or two (this is the ground, remember, where, on our last appearance there, Marty Mac knocked in three of them). If we hit them with a nice few early scores, they could fold – this is Kildare we’re talking about, after all. Once more, it’s a case of take your pick but I think we’re steadily improving this year and haven’t yet got the kind of return from our four matches that our performances have merited. Kildare got hammered by Derry in their last outing so they don’t seem to be on the same development path. If we start well and put some daylight between us on the scoreboard, we might be in for an enjoyable afternoon in Newbridge tomorrow.
Two reminders: don’t forget to put your timepieces forward tonight and also bear in mind that, despite the arrival of New Time, throw-in at Newbridge is still 2.30pm tomorrow.