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.