It’s Wednesday already and a truly gorgeous morning weatherwise to boot up here in the capital (but don’t worry, the forecast is for the cold and wet stuff to be back with us in time for the trip to Armagh) and there’s little sign as yet of much talk about Saturday evening’s NFL clash with the Orchard County.
James Horan has an interview in the Mayo News where he says that he could be picking from a full enough deck for this one, with Seamus O’Shea, Barry Moran, Donal Vaughan and Andy Moran all ready and raring to go. Ger Cafferkey might be okay too as might Peadar Gardiner and if both of them are okay then we could see a very experienced fifteen take the field at the Athletic Grounds. Speaking of experience, James says in that piece that there’s no further word on whether or not Trevor Mortimer or Ronan McGarrity will feature this year but he notes that “there’s always room for good players in the squad”.
The issue of the captaincy was also covered in that interview where it was confirmed that no decision has yet been made on this year’s skipper. Instead it’s being rotated with the four names mentioned here last week – Alan Dillon, Andy Moran, Donal Vaughan and Keith Higgins – all said to be in the frame for the job. As regards Keith, this Mayo News report confirms that he’ll be giving priority to the footballers in the busy month that lies ahead. This means that, despite being named captain of the county’s hurlers (and scoring ten points for them in their opening league match against Roscommon last Sunday), Keith will end up missing the bulk of the NHL campaign. From a football perspective, though, it’s obviously good that he’ll be available for each of the next six weekends.
By the way, Maurice Deegan from Laois is the ref for Saturday night. On the Ref Shiteometer he’d come in somewhere around the middle so he should be reasonably okay, although you might recall that when we had him against Kerry in the league just over a year ago he gave Darran the Diver O’Sullivan a penalty for bundling over Robbie Hennelly, a decision that cost us that game. The last time he reffed us was for that insane shootout against the Dubs in March of last year.
Cillian O’Connor is interviewed in today’s Indo where he talks about how last year went for him and how we hope to bridge what could be a yawning 11-week gap between the end of the league and our first Connacht championship clash by making it to the league play-offs.
While we’re on the subject of the Connacht championship, I’m sure you’ll have noticed this morning’s news that Padraig Joyce has returned to full training with the Galway panel. With Nicky Joyce already back in the fold and Sean Armstrong once again close to full fitness, it’s clear that Alan Mulholland is making progress in strengthening his panel, a process which will be further enhanced as he integrates a number of those minor and U21 All-Ireland medalists from recent years into the set-up. All of a sudden, the prospect of a Connacht decider with them in Pearse Stadium this July doesn’t appear all that appealing. I did tell you, didn’t I, that, like last year, I’m once again putting a family holiday in the sun ahead of the JJ Nestor showdown? Well, I am now.