All this talk about the bolted-on, nailed-down, done-and-dusted certainty of our claiming a hat-trick of Nestor Cup wins next month is clearly starting to irk James Horan. Speaking to the Western People this week (with a report on this report available on Hogan Stand – here) James did his best to toss a bucket of cold water over such uppity thinking when he said:
There’s a huge amount that we need to improve on before we play Roscommon. All we’re doing is preparing for June 16th. To look any further ahead would be foolish. We’re looking to win against Roscommon and then give ourselves a chance of winning the Connacht final.
Which, to be honest, is exactly what you’d expect him to be saying at this point in time. While there’s no getting away from the facts that we’re unbackable favourites both to beat the Rossies – we’re 1/5 with Paddy Power to win on June 16th – and to go on and win our third Connacht title in a row (we’re also 1/5 to do this), we still have to go out and do the business on the field, starting with Game 2 on Sunday week. After our destruction of Galway it’d be a shock of fairly seismic proportions if we fail to account for the Sheepstealers but we still need to approach this game with the same kind of diligence and application as we showed for the one in Salthill. I’d be fairly confident that James and his management team will ensure that the lads remain grounded and focused on the immediate challenge that lies ahead. As others have already said in the comments, though, it’d be no harm for the rest of us to adopt the same mindset.
So, sticking with Game 2, the only news to report is that Sligo’s Michael Duffy has been appointed to ref the game. This is the first time we’ve had Marty’s little bro reffing us in the championship and from what I can see it’s the first match of ours that he’s taken charge of since our NFL demolition of the Dubs back in March last year. The Other Duffy can, like Mother, be a tad prickly at times and he’s fond enough of the cards too – he gave Dublin’s Paul Flynn and Diarmuid Connolly their marching orders that night last year – so the lads will, I reckon, need to be on their best behaviour the next day. It wouldn’t, for example, be the best day for Aido – as can be his wont – to shrug off a flailing tackle with his elbow. Forearmed is forewarned and all that.
Apart from that, there’s nothing of note to say at this stage about Sunday week. Have you sorted your tickets yet, by the way? If not, full details from the County Board on this issue are here.