The Irish Times has a long piece with Andy Moran, who does a good job in making the case for why we shouldn’t be viewed as some kind of object of pity. I like Andy’s statement that it’s time for us “to build a new stereotype” about us and what we’re capable of. We’d all, of course, like it even more – as indeed Andy and his colleagues would too – if a first step were to be made along that road tomorrow.
The Irish Independent picks John Maughan’s brains about tomorrow’s contest and he’s fairly upbeat in his assessment of us. In examining our failings in recent years, he points to our inability to put together good back-to-back performances but he reckons we deserve credit for reaching the semis in what has been a very strange league campaign. In terms of where we might be able to damage Kerry tomorrow, John muses about the questions hanging over their established players in terms of whether or not “they still have the legs”. I guess we’ll have a better idea about that particular issue by 3.30pm or so tomorrow.
The Irish Examiner, meanwhile, has two articles about us but, oddly, neither of them have anything to do with our meeting with Kerry. The first is an interview by Terry Reilly with County Board PRO Aidan McLoughlin which is in large part a riposte to the piece which the same writer penned a few weeks back – just after we’d lost our third league match in as many weeks (my, but how things change quickly in Gaelic football) – pointing to all that’s wrong with the organisation of Mayo GAA. The second article, also by Terry Reilly, deals with the organisation of coaching within the county and which makes the point that all of the squad that will be togged tomorrow – bar Donal Vaughan and Pat Harte – will have come through an academy scheme that starts at U14 level. Both pieces are grand as things go but the timing for their publication – no more than Terry’s original blast – seems a bit strange.
Stranger still are the stories – or, perhaps, the lack of them – about Aidan O’Shea. This piece in Joe.ie points to the Twitter exchange last night which resulted in @MayoGAA claiming that the stories about Aidan’s groin problems had “not been confirmed” and were no more than “speculation”.
I haven’t a clue what the story is, I have to admit, and I’d say that this is just the way James Horan wants to keep things until right before throw-in tomorrow. As Fourgoal pointed out the other day, Jack O’Connor has most likely made plans for how best to neutralise our main man and so it makes complete sense to keep him in the dark for as long as possible about what part, if any, that Aidan will take in proceedings.
That’s it, folks. The weather tomorrow is looking clear but on the cool side and in an empty, cavernous Croke Park it’s set to be cooler still. Just the day, then, I reckon to give my shiny new Cairde Mhuigheo jacket (have you got yours yet, by the way?) its HQ debut.