Right, after some indecision based on whether or not commitments up here would prevent me from travelling I’m now 100% decided that I’ll be heading for Omagh in the morning. Like, out the door at ten in the morning – that kind of heading.
I’ve never been to Healy Park before so I’m looking forward to knocking another ground off the list in the Big Boy’s Book of GAA Venues tomorrow afternoon. I’m looking forward too to the Club ’51 pre-match meet-up in the Silver Birch Hotel in Omagh so if you’re heading to the match via this pit stop then some of us could end up meeting there. So don’t forget the name badges.
Tomorrow’s match is sure to be a good test for the lads, with Tyrone – like Kildare last Sunday – already showing signs of promise this year and obviously as keen as hell to win their home matches. As well, of course, as seeking to extract a smidgeon of revenge for what we did to them last August.
I was a bit surprised, though, to read that Colm Cavanagh is claiming that “a win is a must” for Tyrone tomorrow (thanks, by the way, to HopeSpringsEternal for pointing out this article earlier on). The result is obviously important for both teams but Cavanagh has been round the block often enough to know that shit-or-bust labels don’t sit comfortably on league matches in early February.
I wasn’t overly impressed by Paddy Heaney’s labelling of us either – “weakened” and “patchwork”, indeed – and, of course, he can’t resist trotting out the ‘no natural scoring forwards’ line as well. He does know, doesn’t he, that we racked up a score of 2-18 last Sunday?
I also thought it was amusing that after he’d listed off all of our players who featured last August but are missing tomorrow and then opined that our team tomorrow is a “weakened” one, Paddy then, almost as an afterthought, says that only five of Tyrone’s starting fifteen tomorrow also lined out in the All-Ireland semi-final (we, by comparison, have eight survivors from that day).
But Tyrone are, of course, rebuilding and, if this preview piece by John Fogarty in the Irish Examiner is to be believed, we could well be witnessing the dawn of a new golden age for the Red Hand County. It’s interesting to see that so many of the lads involved in the 2008 and 2010 Tyrone minor teams are now coming through to the senior ranks. They’re lads we should recall clearly enough, given the tussles we had with them at minor level then.
Rebuilding or no rebuilding, Tyrone go into the match as favourites – Paddy Power have them at 4/6, which was around the price we were being quoted at ahead of last August’s semi-final, if I’m not mistaken. Meanwhile the poll here on the site that I’ve just decommissioned splits 62% for us, 31% for them and 7% the draw (total poll 108).
Tomorrow’s match should be a tough, competitive encounter. We both need the points and we’re both fielding teams featuring lads who need to impress so I think we can expect a fairly full-throated contest. Even if it only early in February.
But, of course, it’s not the only game of interest from a #mayogaa point of view tomorrow, with Kiltane’s Intermediate odyssey culminating at Croke Park with their All-Ireland final clash against Monaghan’s Truagh Gaels. While I’d expect there to be a large Mayo contingent up in Omagh, I’d say there should be a big gathering at HQ as well, where hopefully the first All-Ireland of the year won by a team from the county will be in the bag tomorrow evening.
That’s all for now. Safe travelling to all taking to the roads tomorrow – regardless of where you’re departing from and which match you’re heading too – and here’s hoping to the right result in both matches. I’ll be doing my usual post-match audio stuff from the ground and then will be back later on with a report on the match in Omagh. Roger has promised that he’ll also have an account of proceedings from Croke Park so there’ll be a double dose of match reports to get your teeth into tomorrow night. Hopefully, it’ll all make for pleasant reading. Up Mayo!