We’re in London, on the final leg of our hols before we head home on Tuesday night. We arrived here yesterday to find the weather even hotter than where we’d come from and, unlike there, there’s no cooling sea breeze here to moderate the oppressive heat. But whatever the weather, London can often be a magical place and yesterday evening we took the kids to see one of our favourite sights here – the vista of the city from the top of Primrose Hill, with the Shard a startling addition to panoramic view that’s on offer. It’s a view I never tire of seeing and it looked pretty special approaching sundown yesterday.
From what I can see from the forecast, it appears that it’ll be at most only a few degrees cooler than what it is here at McHale Park next Sunday when, at last, we get to play this year’s Connacht final. With Kerry and now Dublin safely into the last eight, both of last year’s All-Ireland finalists will be expected to follow suit this day week and with our lads priced at 1/500 to prevail (when will we ever again see odds like this on us in a provincial final, I wonder?), it’s a bit difficult to keep up the only thinking about the next game routine.
I may as well come out and say it – I confidently expect our lads to smash London to pieces next Sunday and I reckon it’ll be a surprise if they’re within 15 or even 20 points of us at the finish. This isn’t arrogance or over-confidence or too much sun having gone to my head, instead it’s simply a cold-hearted assessment of both sides’ place in the Gaelic football pecking order at present. We should beat them out the gate not because we might take any great delight in doing so but rather because this is what we should be capable of doing and what, frankly, everyone watching us will expect us to do.
In this regard, it’s worth noting that we’re now third favourites for the All-Ireland (jointly with Donegal, at 4/1). The bookies have us in this position for a reason and that’s because we’re a pretty serious outfit at this stage. Given how we’ve performed in the championship to date, I think we can expect our lads to approach Sunday’s match with the same seriousness as they did when facing Galway and Roscommon and to execute their game plan with the same kind of single-minded dedication and focus. If we can do this (and I can’t see why we won’t) then I reckon it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that this is one fairytale that’s going to have a gruesome ending from the romantics’ point of view.
This in no way negates London’s massive achievement in reaching this year’s Connacht final, a feat that must surely result in a fundamental reshaping of the county’s relationship within the GAA and its involvement in the Connacht championship. If London want this, then this has to mean they take their place in the draw the same way as everyone else and get the same crack of the whip as regards home advantage as everyone else does.
That’s one for further down the road, of course, and for the next week all the focus will be on the contest that throws in at 2pm this day week in McHale Park. So, now that you’ve had my opinion on how it might go, what do you think the outcome of this year’s Connacht final will be?
How will the Connacht final go?
- We'll destroy them (53%, 79 Votes)
- We'll beat them easily enough (35%, 52 Votes)
- We'll suffer the shock of all shock defeats (8%, 12 Votes)
- We'll sneak by them (5%, 7 Votes)
Total Voters: 150