The shortest day of the year

We’ve finally reached it: today’s the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and a murky old one it was at that.  Nobody stirred Chez WJ till just after 9.30am this morning so by the time we got a proper run at the day, it was already getting dark again.  But tomorrow it will do so a little later than today and, from today, we’re once more back on the march to high summer.

The day we reach the turn again – the 21st of June – is also the day where, assuming we take care of New York in early May, we’ll be facing either Leitrim or Roscommon in the Connacht semi-final.  If that wait sounds too long for you, then you’ll be glad to know that the 2009 FBD fixtures have now been announced.  We’re in Section A, along with the Sheepstealers, Sligo IT and NUIG and it’s against the latter at 2pm on the 4th of January (at their gaff) that our 2009 inter-county season is set to get underway.  The following Sunday, Sligo IT play host to our lads and then we have a home tie against the Rossies on the 18th.  Just like the buses, eh?  You wait five months for some inter-county action and then along comes three games in three weeks.

But it’ll be good to have the football back again (it’ll make it a bit easier to find things to write about here, for starters) and already you can see that sparks are likely to start flying early in the New Year about the new rules on fouls and cards that are set to come into force for next year’s NFL.  Tyrone’s Ryan McMenamin and Philip Jordan don’t like the changes (well, there’s a surprise), neither does Banty and Tommy Carr thinks we should consider introducing an International Rules-style tackle into Gaelic football (I think he has a point there).  Given the likely strong backlash from the sideline to the new disciplinary rules once players start getting ordered off on yellow cards, it’ll be interesting to see how long Nickey Brennan’s hang-tough policy remains in force.  What are the odds on the new arrangements being binned well before the summer solstice?  Pretty short, I’d reckon.

9 thoughts on “The shortest day of the year

  1. With the way some refs hand out yellow cards the new rules can only be a disaster. The whole tick, yellow, red set-up has ruined football, and things are only going to get worse.

    how many dirty games do you actually see?

    Basketball is a far less physical sport and you are given 5 chances. In football with a dodgy ref (i’d start a list but don’t have the time to type it all out) you are gone with 3 fouls.

    I see from the Master Fixtures that the championship game against Roscommon/Leitrim is listed for Saturday 20th June. Don’t know the reason why.

  2. If you mix inflexible rules and incompetent refs, there can only be one outcome and, like the sin bin a few years ago, it won’t be pretty. In fairness to the proponents of the changes, it will probably help to minimise the cynical stuff – as the sin bin did in the short period it was there – but ordering someone off on a yellow is never going to become part of the rules for the championship so there’s no point buggering up a league campaign when any eejit can see it won’t be retained in the longer term.

    The Connacht GAA site has the game listed for the 21st but I think it could be on the 20th because RTE are planning to show some championship matches live on Saturday from next year (all we need now is a few on a Monday night and we’ll be as good as the Premiership) and I think our one might be one of these.

  3. For a guy who has won nothing, and whose biggest claim to fame is, that he is a brother of a referee that saw service against Mayo I am a little tired of Bunty or Banty or whatever nockname he wanders under. Monaghan to me are a bit like Longford, Wicklow or Clare…dull, turgid sides. Bunty/Banty thinks that by toughning up his team they will become an Armagh or Tyrone. Well they wont. Why does this guy upset me? maybe the clue is in the brother part. Happy Christmas Willie Joe and all your followers. May we look forward to a Green and Red year.

  4. Many happy returns, ontheroad! The name does it for me as well – he reffed our league game with Kildare last year in Newbridge and a few locals were giving out shite about his supposed pro-Mayo bias. I set them straight about 1996 and there wasn’t another peep out of them after that …

  5. Onetheroad I really wouldnt fancy playing them. They would beat us up and spit us out. They would love playing a team like us. We have some lovely footballers but I would rather we had a team of big strong men as was the case in 96. Anyway all our criticism of our own boys seems to have been taken on board by the players. if they react positively we could have a good year. Beating Galway in salthill should be our goal. that is game we have to peak for. Peaking in the big apple will serve no purpose. Anyway Guys im signing off today until the new year and with that may I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year! Ted.

  6. The last time we played Monaghan was in the league back in March 2006 up in Clontibret (I recall making the trip up from Dublin to that one) and we beat them handily enough that day, despite having David Heaney sent off in the first half (which resulted in BJ’s first cameo at full-back, incidentally). Granted, a lot has happened since then – they’re obviously better, we’re arguably worse – but I’d still fancy our chances against them.

    I agree completely that Salthill this year is the acid test for us: if we want to get back to the top table, we have to start winning matches that matter and this has to be our major target next year. If we manage to do this, then who knows where it’ll take us?

    All the best for Christmas and the New Year, Ted. Here’s hoping to a happier year on the terraces for all of us.

  7. Seasons greeting to you and yours W.J. – am enjoying the new stats section. Some of those league games in 1980’s Knockmore etc… are really rolling back the years for me! In terms of FBD, it should be noted that Galway have used it to blood some useful players, have built momentum into the league and got a few junkets to NY out of it. The road to June 21st (Sorry New York) really does begin in January.
    Enjoy the break!

  8. In response to Eriad, Basketball may be a far less physical sport but it’s rare that you are standing up one end of the court taking a small jog around to keep warm watching the lads play down the other end as can frequently happen in football- i.e. players are continually involved in b-ball. I doubt there is a desire generally to reduce the physicality, but acts of thuggery and cynical, petty fouling which occur must be punished, which is not being done at this stage.

  9. Many happy returns, DB, don’t forget to take the opportunity to give those Kerry folk a hard time over their “failure” this year!

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