They’re still positively gushing up here in the capital about Dublin’s display on Sunday and the clear inkling I’m getting from all this bonhomie is that they’re utterly convinced Sunday’s display means that the final is already in the bag.
The media overdrive about the bestest match that was ever ever played – which continues unabated today (Irish Times, Irish Independent) – is helping to feed this particular beast but, from our perspective, this is just fine. The more people that queue up to tell the Dublin players what a great bunch of lads they are and to congratulate them on playing the game the way the game should be played and tell them what great champions they’ll be, the better it is for us. And the more people who confidently predict that the final will be another exhibition of completely shite defending all-out attack, the better we’re going to like it too. I really think they haven’t one iota about the tornado that’s going to hit them come 3.30pm on the 22nd. They’ll know soon enough.
This morning’s papers aren’t solely taken up with over-the-top stuff about the Kerry match, though, and this report in the Irish Examiner – which starts with that Rory O’Carroll gouging story (one that’s clearly going nowhere, without proper video evidence there’s no way it merits further action) – has a bit about Cillian O’Connor, who has returned to non-contact training and is busy practicing his freetaking (with, one assumes, the headphones on and the catcalling from the Hill turned up full volume). That piece says that Cillian’s latest dislocation, while necessitating surgery in the Autumn, “isn’t as serious as first feared” which is certainly good to hear.
The Mayo News (print version – the digital variant of the paper is, for a modest charge, available here) also has news about Cillian. The report I’m looking at has a quote from James Horan who says he still doesn’t know if Cillian will feature against Dublin but confirms that he’s “working with the medical team and progressing well.” According to James “we have the best medical team in the country” on the case but he also cautions that “he’s on track but we just don’t know if he’ll be in a position to play.”
Clearly, this is one that’s going to be determined by the medical prognosis in the days ahead. It’d be fantastic to have him back – and I think if he is back, it’d make far more sense to start him than to list him in the subs – but, as the boss says, we simply don’t know yet if this will happen. Fingers crossed and all that.
Have you got your ticket sorted yet? Well, if you’re one of the self-satisfied members of Cáirde Mhaigheo (which I am and feeling pretty damn smug about it, truth be told) then you’re sorted – with one guaranteed ticket already in the bag and the right to get another one by simply renewing and paying for the annual sub for 2014. Right from when it was first launched, Cáirde Mhaigheo membership was an utter no-brainer as far as I was concerned and this All-Ireland ticket scheme – which was also in operation last year – proves the point in spades. Full details on what Cáirde Mhaigheo members need to do about getting their hands on their final tickets are here.
Aside from this, it’ll be the usual scramble for tickets but, seeing as this is our seventh final appearance (eighth if you count 1996 twice) since 1989, most should be well versed by now in the rituals of the hunt. Things usually don’t get going in earnest until after the hurling final is over and, even then, it can be well into final week itself before the precious paper starts to materialise. So, if you’re not sorted yet, don’t despair – there’s loads of time left yet and plenty of trees to be shaken ahead of the 22nd.
One bit of non-All-Ireland news to finish up: Ballina’s Niall Heffernan was last night confirmed as the new manager of the county’s U21 team, where he’ll be hoping to engineer an improvement in our fortunes following a number of years in the doldrums for us at this level. Best of luck to Niall and his management team as they take up the reins in charge of the young guns.