Two more reports on yesterday’s game to check out, if you haven’t already done so: this one from the redoubtable Spailpín and this detailed one from No One Shouted Stop! The latter has my sympathy in relation to the traffic as, given my short trip back to the metropolis from Newbridge, yesterday was an easy one for me. It’s these “home” fixtures that I find a bit more difficult.
The Indo’s match report has a quote from Johnno, who describes that nightmare opening spell as a “collective malaise” but then pays tribute to the lads for turning the situation around. I didn’t hear the radio piece that An Spailpín refers to (where Johnno was fretting about our points difference) but, like An Spailpín, I’m equally mystified as why Johnno didn’t bring on a few fresh legs if the intention was to keep up the tempo till the end.
I don’t think it’ll matter all that much, in fact, because, by my calculations, if we avoid getting stuffed in either of our two remaining games, we’ve probably done enough already to retain our Division One status. Laois are on one point with a -17 points difference and they now face Donegal away (which they’re likely to lose) and Kildare at home (which they’ll probably win). They’re likely to end up with three points at most and, even with five, their points difference deficit against us (they’re twenty behind us at this stage) looks too large. Kildare travel to Kerry next Saturday night (where they’re almost sure of a hammering) and they then play Laois (which they’ll probably lose as well). They could reach seven points but, realistically, five is all they can hope for. They’re sixteen points behind us on points difference at the moment and the Kerry lads are likely to increase that deficit sharply next weekend so, even with five points, they’re unlikely to overhaul us as well. We still need to avoid getting beaten out the gate by both Galway and Tyrone but, if we do (even if we still lose both narrowly) we should be okay.
Obviously, though, the best option for us is to keep winning ourselves and Sunday’s encounter with Galway is likely to be a tasty one. Their eye for goal is impressive and, while our backline looks better now than it did a few weeks ago, Kildare’s opening barrage yesterday demonstrated that our problems aren’t over there yet. We may need another big return from our full-forward line to stay in the hunt at McHale Park next Sunday.