On goes this crazy Championship rollercoaster.
We’d no time to celebrate properly after the Galway win, equally we’ve had to pack away in short order all those negative thoughts after last Sunday’s thumping down in Killarney.
Once again, for what is now the fifth weekend on the trot, the team is back out playing Championship football. And, like it was for those three rounds in the qualifiers, everything is on the line again for us at Croke Park tomorrow.
Now isn’t, I suppose, the time to be thinking about the insane Championship structure. We’re stuck with it and just have to get on with it, knowing full well that it was that hugely damaging loss to Roscommon which sent us down this punishing route. But it is worth noting in passing the madness of it all and the inhumane pressure it’s putting on a group of amateur players.
The pressure will be back on them again tomorrow. While we’re fancied to win, nobody is taking this one for granted. If anyone hasn’t noticed that we’ve slipped in recent years from challenging at the very top to losing to more moderate opposition like Kildare and Roscommon, as well as repeatedly to Galway, then they haven’t been keeping up. We could very easily find Meath added to that list tomorrow.
James has, once more, shuffled the deck with his selection for this game. This is partly out of necessity but also we need to find an extra spark, something to kick-start us again after the pounding we got in Killarney. There may, of course, be a few more changes as well before throw-in tomorrow.
It’s a throw-in I’ll be missing myself. While football always features large in our summer it can’t hog the whole damn thing, which is another reason to rail against this mad week-after-week schedule of games. Not, mind, that it’ll make any difference.
But many of you will, of course, be heading to HQ tomorrow and, in the process, crossing the country. If you’re on the road then you could do a whole load worse than listen to the match preview edition of the Mayo News football podcast, which is here. If Billy Joe’s rallying call doesn’t get you revved up for the game then I don’t know what will.
Back tomorrow with some final pre-match thoughts.