Right, 72 hours or so have passed since the final whistle was blown in this year’s All-Ireland final – and, with it, time called once again on our hopes of lifting the Sam Maguire – and the world has kept on turning. As it always must, as it always will.
Fair play to the lot of you, you’ve kept the embers glowing on Saturday’s contest and much more besides, including the year we’ve had, where we need to go next year and what we need to do to get us where we need to go. It’s been a great, rolling debate, one that I’ve really enjoyed taking in so, please, don’t let me stop the discussion.
All I will say on it is that it’s proof positive – in these über-divisive and anger-filled times – that it’s possible for fair-minded debate to take place online. In the aftermath of Saturday’s dispiriting loss it would be easy to let the anger flow but instead you’ve kept the discussion the right side of reasonable. This place is all the better for it so well done for that.
It’s hard for all of us to look to the future after the loss to Tyrone. But, I guess, this is a well-worn track we’re on right now and we’ve all got plenty of muscle memory from the recovery we’ve made from previous defeats. In time, we’ll get over this one too.
One of the next things I’ll be doing here on the blog will be tidying up loose ends from this year. Like completing the 2021 results and filing them away with the results from the other 118 years already there.
The other backward-looking thing I need to sort is the poll for our Player of the Year. I have to run the data first from the MOTM polls to generate the short list and then I’ll stick the poll for it up on the site. My money’s on Lee Keegan to pick up this award for the second time, having first won it back in 2016, but, of course, it’s your votes that will decide this.
Looking ahead, there’s the club action for everyone to get their teeth into, with a round of League matches on this coming weekend and then the opening round of the Championships the weekend after.
I’ll be in the west myself the weekend after next so I’m already licking my chomps looking at this particular menu, though my preference is for a game on the Saturday. But which will it be? Champions Knockmore against my own local club Aghamore, perhaps? Or what about Balla versus Castlebar Mitchels? Or, indeed, Westport against Ballaghaderreen? Choices, choices.
Looking further ahead, it seems like it’ll be a while yet before we know what the lay of the land is for next year’s inter-county fixtures. Usually, the provisional League fixtures for the following spring would be released (or leaked) around now and then in late October the draws would be made for the following summer’s provincial Championships.
This time round, though, everything is up in the air due to the upcoming Special Congress on Championship structures where two new Championship formats are on the table. More details on that here.
One of the knock-on effects of the mooted changes for next year is that the usual – well, usual before Covid struck – pre-season competitions that take place in deepest January, the FBD included, are set to get the heave-ho. More on that here.
The survey the GAA launched today to shape the association’s five-year strategic plan got a mention earlier. I’d agree that it’s worth doing and you’ll find the link to it here.
We might be drawing our collective breath on the podcast following the glut of episodes we put online ahead of the final but we’re not done for the year yet. Far from it, in fact – we’ll be recording our next episode soon and before long we’ll be throwing the ball in our our club Championship podcast coverage as well. More on that anon.
In summary, then, there’s plenty to look ahead to over the next while, as all the while Croke Park and all that happened to us there last Saturday slips from our line of sight in the rearview mirror.