The countdown hasn’t really got going in earnest yet ahead of our appearance in this year’s All-Ireland SFC semi-final – which is the tenth time in eleven seasons that we’ve got at least this far in the Championship – but, once the Leinster final is over and our semi-final opponents are known, it soon will be.
Ahead of this we’ve been making plans for what to do on the Mayo News football podcast to mark the county’s arrival, yet again, at the Championship’s penultimate round.
The various Covid-related restrictions around sporting events has meant that the match-day episodes, once staple fare on the podcast, have had to be ditched ever since the pandemic struck. Instead, we’ve got into a fairly stable rhythm this year, involving preview and review shows for every Championship game.
But this is an All-Ireland semi-final, one that we’ve a decent lead-in to and the Covid restrictions have been loosened sufficiently for us to think a bit more expansively about what to do over the next few weeks.
In short, we’re looking to up the output quite considerably on the podcast, with six shows planned leading up to and after the All-Ireland semi-final a bit over two weeks from now.
We’ll be getting the ball rolling early next week with an episode to savour. This one features Billy Joe Padden in a one-to-one chat with former Mayo manager Stephen Rochford, who will, no doubt, have some fascinating insights to give us on where Mayo stand ahead of the semi-final. This episode will be recorded after the result of Sunday’s Leinster final is known and so the discussion will be an informed one from that perspective.
Then towards the end of next week Rob Murphy will be making a very welcome return to the podcast. He never really went away, of course, but, due to other commitments this year, he had to take a break from presenting for while. But he’ll be back for the semi-final and I’ll be chatting with him on this episode so there’ll be an element of getting the old band back together again then.
There’ll then be another show, also hosted by Rob, early the following week. We’re aiming to have a former Mayo player as special guest on that one, in which we hope to bring you a taste of what it’s like to play for the county in the cauldron that is Croke Park.
Later that week, Mike Finnerty will be presenting the main semi-final preview show and the guest list is now being warmed up for that one.
On the assumption that the match is on the Saturday and, on the even larger assumption that we’ll all get tickets for it, we’re planning on recording material for a match-day special episode of the podcast from Croke Park. If the game is played on the Saturday, that episode will be online on the Sunday.
Then, once the dust has settled, we’ll have our main semi-final review show, which will be online on the Wednesday following the game.
So, that’s the plan. None of this would be possible without the invaluable work done on the podcast behind the scenes by Ger Duffy on production and editing. The support we get from our sponsors, Ceramic City and Swinford Motors, is of huge importance to us too.
Here on the podcast we’re really looking forward to getting stuck into bringing these episodes to fruition and, once again, to putting the podcast at the heart of all the chat leading up to and after the big game. We’re hoping as many of you as possible join us on this journey over the next few weeks.