Johnno has told the Mayo News that our team to face the Dubs on Sunday won’t be announced until that day itself. It says in the report that the team for this crunch NFL Division 1 clash won’t be announced “until hours” before throw-in at James Stephens Park. That’s an improvement, then, given that it was just minutes before throw-in before we got wind of the line-up for last Sunday’s match against Kerry.
That Mayo News report makes fairly depressing reading, with Johnno continuing his poor-poor-pitiful-me routine about fixture pile-ups, injuries and what-not. I have some sympathy with what he has to say about the stupidity of squashing the Sigerson, the U21s and an intense NFL campaign all together and it’s certainly the case that it makes all that cant about burn-out ring fairly hollow. The problem I have is that he seems to think that we’re somehow more disadvantaged than other counties are and, by coming out with this stuff after a defeat, it just sounds like a load of pissing and moaning. Which, of course, is exactly what it is.
It would have been far better if he’d raised holy hell over the scheduling when it was first published: had he done so, last Sunday’s outburst could then be portrayed as an exercise in “I told you so”. Which would have been a hell of a lot better than pissing and moaning. The audio (can’t find a link to it that works, I’m afraid) is even worse than the printed version, by the way: Johnno just doesn’t sound like someone that’s at all happy in the role and it does raise all sorts of questions about whether or not his heart is truly in the job. There’s no point going down that road now, I know: Johnno has the bib for the remainder of this year at least and those of us on the sideline will, of course, continue to support him and the team while he’s in the job. I just wish he’d stop the moaning.
In terms of the match itself, Johnno says he expects “a big backlash” from the Dubs after the whipping Derry gave them at Parnell Park on Saturday night last. I think we can expect the visitors to come at us hard alright on Sunday but if we stand up to them in the first half, there’s no reason we can’t secure the points against them. The vast majority of those happy souls who’ve responded to the poll on the site think so, at any rate: at the minute, a whopping 91% of you think we’ll win this one. So does Paddy Power, by the way.
There’s little point either in speculating too much about the team for Sunday at this point. Barry Moran is still out with his hamstring problem and, realistically, I wouldn’t expect us to see him back until the Tyrone game. Barry Kelly, Seamus O’Shea and U21 Kevin McLoughlin all have groin problems, with the first two picking up the injury in training (coincidence or what?) while the latter got injured early in the U21 win over Galway but then played on for the remainder of the game, putting in a MOTM performance in the process. He’s now a doubt for the U21 semi against the Sheepstealers and would be a huge loss were he not to be fit for that one. There’s no chance he’ll be on the card for Sunday. As regards others, Billy Joe still has a dead leg (how long does a dead leg stay dead for?) and Ger Cafferkey and Alan Dillon are both operating at less than 100%.
One of those Mayo News reports (the first one I linked to, I think) confirms that the match on Sunday definitely won’t be all-ticket. The weather forecast for Sunday is, however, very good and, as we all know, Good Weather = Big Crowds at the Footie so anyone who’s dawdling into town with the clock approaching 2.30 pm (as PJ is wont to do) and expects to get either a parking space near the ground or quick entry at the gate will only have himself to blame. See: it pays to plan ahead to account for known issues.
Finally, just to round up what’s in the Mayo News: here’s the match report from last Sunday, the U21 match report and some after-match comments (note the lack of moaning in same) from Noel Connelly. And that’s your lot for now, amigos.