It’s the day before our first real competitive match of the year and the pundits (i.e. the lads who get paid for doing this) are split about who they think will prevail at Ballina tomorrow. RTE (who I think got almost every prediction relating to us wrong last year) go for us, Hogan Stand go for them and the Irish Times sit on the fence. The Indo hasn’t got out of bed yet. Paddy Power, however, go emphatically for us – we’re at only a miserly 8/13 to win with the money men.
Tomorrow’s match is a bit of a toss-up, to be honest. What with the winter ban on training and the lack of any proper pre-league prep, both teams will be going into this opening fixture more than a little bit raw and unlike, say Donegal or Galway, neither county has established any kind of form in their secondary provincial tournaments. Derry are missing a fair few lads, we’re fielding what looks to be a team that’s strong right down the middle (albeit one that’s still inexperienced enough at the back) and, if the hunger is there, home advantage could swing it for us.
That’s what I’ve put in my prediction on Face The Ball in any event. At the last count, there were 26 punters signed up for the mini-league, which is far more than I thought we’d get and which is close enough in number to our championship squad for last year. For anyone who hasn’t yet taken the leap, I think there’s probably still time to do so, providing you’ve already set up your main Face The Ball account and have done your Week 1 predictions. If you still want to take part, just whack me an email and I’ll let you know what’s involved.
That’s about it. All that’s left for me to do before the game – apart from travelling across the country to it, that is – is to shift that Twitter widget up to right-corner forward on the site so that the real-time match updates I’ll be doing from James Stephens Park will be more easily visible. Back after the game – probably late enough tomorrow night, given the mileage involved.