Photo: Thomas Gallagher (@gallagherteg) via Twitter
Nearly there – it’s now the day before our All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Donegal and I dunno about the rest of you but I’ve already had a few anticipatory shivers (at least I think that’s what they were – once you head over the hill at fifty it could be any kind of ailment) about tomorrow and the occasion and all the rest. It’s another cracking day up here but, don’t worry, there’s rain – perhaps quite a bit of it – on the way for tomorrow afternoon. And don’t forget the buses will be on strike then as well.
There’s obviously truckloads of coverage in the papers today about all of this weekend’s quarter-finals including our one. Starting with the Irish Times, Keith Duggan has a very good piece on Aidan O’Shea, Ian O’Riordan does an overview of all four quarters where he tips us – as well as Tyrone, Dublin and Kerry – to prevail and Malachy Clerkin does the preview of the game, in which he describes James Horan’s team as one that “drinks its whiskey neat and keep its holster unbuttoned.” He reckons that once we get the match-ups right we’ll do it with three to spare.
In the Irish Examiner, there’s a great, insightful piece by John Fogarty about coach Donie Buckley, which, if only half of it is true (and I’m sure it is), shows how lucky we are to have the Kerryman in our camp this year. Terry Reilly, meanwhile, delves into the deteriorating relationship between ourselves and tomorrow’s opposition, taking soundings from both sides of the fence when doing so.
It’s over at the Irish Independent, however, where more emphasis is placed (predictably enough, you’d have to say) on the pre-match ‘war of words’ than on the upcoming contest itself. Vincent Hogan has a piece on the James/Jimmy ‘rivalry’ and Martin Breheny has a similar dish on the menu. You’d think they’d have had a chat over their laptops in advance and agreed to plough different fields on this issue but, then again, this is the Indo we’re talking about here. Breheny also has a preview of the game where he tips us, pointing mainly (and a bit curiously) to Andy Moran’s return as justification for doing so.
That’s about it, really. I’m heading to Croker today as well as tomorrow – I’d agree wholeheartedly with David Brady’s statement on the (excellent) Second Captains podcast that Bank Holiday weekend is the best weekend of the entire championship, with a feast of action over the two days involving all of the top teams – and I’m doing so as part of a mutual support pact with the kids. I’ll be shouting for the Dubs (not too loudly or anything) in their match with Cork this evening and they’ll return the favour by yelling for us tomorrow. The small lad can fairly yell too, I can tell you.
I’m really interested, however, in the 5pm match against Monaghan and Tyrone, not least because if we do manage to clock (figuratively, Rory – and, no, I didn’t wink at anyone either) the All-Ireland champions tomorrow, then it’s the winners of this match that we’ll be facing three weeks hence. You’d never know, I might even rise to some audio ramblings from HQ later on if the fancy takes me.
UPDATE: The fancy did take me – my audio report from Croke Park tonight is available here. Joe Brolly beats me hands down in the foaming-at-the-mouth stakes, I’m afraid.