Previews, predictions and a trip to the West

This’ll be a quick one as I’ve loads to get sorted before heading West this evening. I’m looking forward to the match tomorrow – it should be a good, competitive one and, with this glorious (albeit on the cold side) weather set to continue, the standard should rise above the kind of dour Winter fare one might expect to see at this time of year. I haven’t seen our lads play since the Celtic Park debacle last July (well, nobody got to see them for six months after that) but I’m hoping to get to most of the league matches from here on (well, maybe not the Kerry one the day before Paddy’s Day but I’m not 100% sure about that one yet).

So, how’s the match being called then? RTE’s preview – they go for Donegal – looks like it was generated by some kind of mindless machine (one assumes that, had Peadar Gardiner’s rocket late-on been a few inches lower and Brossie failed to connect with that inswinger up in Ballybofey, the machine would have spat out a preview saying that we’re the team that’s “a little further down the road at this point”). Okay: that’s 1-0 to the Herrin Gutters. Hogan Stand make that very point by plumping for us. 1-1. The Times (no link available to the online version – I’m quoting from the paper copy on my dinner table) reckons that Donegal’s injury list could be decisive in swinging the result our way. 2-1 to us – that’s enough previews, I think. Oh yes, that font of knowledge, Paddy Power also (just about) calls it our way. I think we will win it (don’t I always?) but it could be uncomfortably close. There – you couldn’t get a machine to produce insights like that, could you?

Finally, Peace in Our Time, Boy, has finally broken out on Leeside. However, like the Versailles Treaty, this is far from an even-handed settlement and it could, like that 1919 deal, lead to further conflict (not a World War, mind you, something far bigger – this is Cork we’re talking about, after all) down the road. Kieran Mulvey’s judgment resulted in game, set and match to the players, with Teddy Holland the predictable fall guy but with the county board also losing the right to appoint the manager’s selectors. Although all talk will now be of peace and getting back to winning All-Irelands, you can be damn sure that the county board, having got their holes right and truly kicked on this one, won’t see it as the end of the matter. Any hopes that the current players might, for example, have of gravitating into management positions in the future can now be kissed goodbye. These kind of guys have very, very long memories – just ask Peter Ford.

That’s it – back tomorrow night at some point with a match report from McHale Park.

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