A quick one this time, to deal with a few issues from Sunday and a few more about the coming weekend.
First, a correction to yesterday’s post. I watched most of the game again on Setanta last night and I realised that the first video clip I included yesterday was, in fact, Andy Moran’s point and not Alan Dillon’s. The fact that it was taken with the right from that distance should have raised suspicions but it was only when I saw the action on the box that I discovered the error. Sorry ’bout that. Sorry also, Dubs fans, that WAS the penalty miss in the second video. The only difference watching it on TV was that the spectacle of Dublin blowing an ill-gotten match-winning chance was even more enjoyable. And the ref was still an idiot – Jayo played for the penalty and Cahill definitely should have walked for his assault on Dillon. And all those wides: sixteen in total, I think.
Okay, that’s enough looking back. Looking ahead to the league semi-finals, it’s still not clear who we’ll be up against on two weeks time. Assuming we don’t win our group (a safe assumption, I think, given where we are versus Donegal and who our respective opponents are this weekend), we’ll be up against the winners of Division 1B. Kildare currently head this Division (where, I wonder, would the Lilywhites stand in Division 1A had they been playing in it? Not on top, that’s for sure) on 9 points, with a +5 points difference. Laois are second on 8 points (+15), Galway are third also on eight points (+8), while Derry are fourth on 7 points (+3). The top two play each other next weekend at Newbridge, with Galway hosting bottom-of-the-table Down and Derry at home to Louth.
Obviously, the likely Divisional winners will emerge from the Newbridge clash, because if one of them wins there, they’ll also win the Division. However, a draw at Newbridge would enable Galway, with superior points difference to Kildare, to top the Division and book a clash with us. I doubt this will happen: Laois need to beat Kildare to make the playoffs and, after tonking Armagh last Saturday evening, they should be more than a match for the soft-centred Lilywhites. So, after our rematch with the Dubs, we could be set for another reprise of the Summer of 2006, this time in the form of Laois. And this one could well be at Croker.
Finally, there’s our injury list, which, unfortunately ain’t getting any shorter. As Setanta reports this morning, goalkeeper Kenneth O’Malley is the latest victim, having fractured his thumb against the Dubs. David Brady has also suffered a setback: he now, apparently, has a thigh problem to deal with. O’Malley is probably out for the rest of the league but Brady might be fit for the playoffs, depending on how serious this latest problem is. While these most recent injuries are a pain (both to the players involved and to The Cause), they don’t represent a catastrophe: David Clarke can slot in between the sticks and the reborn David Heaney can continue to enjoy himself at midfield. The U21s will miss O’Malley, though, as he’s one of the All-Ireland winning bunch from last year who are still eligible for 2007. He obviously won’t be available for next weekend’s Connacht U21 final against the Rossies.