It’s a gloriously warm and sunny summer’s morning here in the capital, with the only problem being that’s it’s also a Monday morning with a whole pile of work to get sorted. It’s also the longest day of the year and while a little part of me dies every time we reach this annual turning point – given that it’s now downhill all the way to those miserly short days in deepest winter – it does mean that the midgets will be finishing up school shortly and I think we’re all beginning to nurse some hopes that this particular summer may not go the way of the last three rain-sodden efforts we’ve had to endure.
We’re back in action this coming Saturday evening in the first round of the qualifiers but the weekend just gone was a quiet enough one on the football front, with the hurling – where Kilkenny’s dreary drive for five is set to be the dominant feature of that code this summer – claiming centre stage. But there was football action in Connacht, where the Rossies took advantage of the soft draw they enjoyed this year (one we were given twelve months back) to claim their first Connacht final appearance since 2004. While they won decisively enough in the end, Leitrim gave them a game of it for a good while before their lack of a cutting edge in the forwards began to tell.
A county with such limited resources as Leitrim simply could never hope to adapt sufficiently to the loss of players like Emlyn Mulligan, Derek Maxwell and Colin Regan, not to mention the tragically deceased Philly McGuinness. Before the match, Mickey Moran said that the combined blows of injuries and emigration had deprived them of ten players and, seen in that light, it’s a wonder they gave the Sheepstealers a game at all.
Roscommon’s win means that they’re now, at worst, certain of a place in Round 4 of the qualifiers but they will, of course, be hoping to fell either Galway or Sligo with an unlikely haymaker in the provincial final. On yesterday’s evidence you’d have to say that such an outcome would be a little far-fetched but if the match is played at Hyde Park (which I think it will be, regardless of whether it’s Sligo or Galway), the chances of such an outcome occurring must be at least slightly better.
Elsewhere, Meath’s win over Laois sets up a tasty Leinster semi-final with Dublin next Sunday. We were at HQ in the rain for the Dubs’ bizarre extra-time victory over Wexford and we’ll be heading there again this coming Sunday where hopefully they won’t need to turn on the floodlights to illuminate the action. Dublin’s blanket defence made heavy weather of it against Wexford’s lively forwards so I think Pat Gilroy will need to rethink his plans if they’re to keep Meath’s attack under wraps. I’d nearly fancy the Royals to win that one.
Up north, Tyrone – like Kerry down south – seem grimly determined to reach the All-Ireland series via the front door dish ear. Down were a big disappointment in Saturday night’s encounter and they lost their way completely in the second half, despite the fact that they had a stiff wind at their backs and were still well in the game at that stage. I remain unconvinced, though, by Tyrone (how long can those ould fellas keep haring about the pitch in that high-intensity manner of theirs?) and if those free-shooting Monaghan lads start to find their range against them in the Ulster final (assuming the Farneymen get past Fermanagh first, which they surely will), Mickey Harte could find himself landed, along with the Rossies, with a detour to Round 4 of the qualifiers.
At least they’re guaranteed (at worst) such an outcome – we have three rounds of the qualifiers to win before we even get to this position. But – like the economy and the banks and all that crack – we are where we are and beginning at Pearse Park this coming Saturday, we need to start digging ourselves out of this hole we’ve made for ourselves.
8 thoughts on “The weekend’s action”
is it a case of pulling ourselves up off the canvass only to be knocked down again or have we one good punch left in us? I feel the later is possible. If we get over longford( theres a sentance i honestly never thought id say) our season could hinge on us getting a really good team at home. Id love to get Cork at home( is this possible??). Beating them at home would give us a massive (and the rest of the country) boost and with Cork out anything could then happen.
Have to admire Leitrim and their managerial duo. Pity they walked the plank after Black September ’06. We couldnt be any worse off…could we? You are correct WJ, Tyrone know the legs wont last forever, thats why this year and like last year they are going the modh direach. Trouble is this; Ulster is a bog for teams, drains and saps them. Cork caught Tyrone last year, once more they will be sussceptible on clearing Uladh. The dreaded Rossies might have the last laugh yet. Certain of a last 12 spot, no pressure. I wouldnt like to face them in the Hyde on a hot sunny day. Seems like the last century our big win over them last year.
My team for Sunday would be:
Howley Cafferkey Higgins
McLoughlin Cuniffe Vaughan
Dillon AOS A. Moran
C Mort Freeman Kilcoyne
I would stick with Cunnife. Hopefully three more weeks of action will have brought him on.
T Mort and Parsons have to go. McGarrity and Cafferkey very lucky that there does not seem to be any better options. I know JOM will not play AOS at CF, but I would try him there. Barry Moran will probably make it ahead of AOS.
The dreaded Rossies might have the last laugh yet. Certain of a last 12 spot, no pressure. I wouldnt like to face them in the Hyde on a hot sunny day. Seems like the last century our big win over them last year.
Ontheroad, please don’t say that, om dear god anything but a defeat to them.
Don’t worry, Sean – if we survive until round 4 of the qualifiers, it’s almost sure to be raining and cold again by then!
ontheroad your admiration of the Micky and Morry Roadshow would be misplaced in Leitrim where they are asking themselves just what value have they got out of the 140K reportedly dished out to the pair.
Still in Division 4, no championship or qualifier win. For that money alot of lads could do what they do, it seems. Des Dolan snr was a good manager who never got any breaks, – this duo are treading water.
Now while I don’t agree with the manner they were turfed out of Mayo, I could easily speculate that dreaded 2nd season syndrome would have struck Mayo in ’07 and the two lads would have struggled to repeat the trick in ’08.
Interesting point on leitrim there wj.
For once I would love for john o mahoney to come out and stick his neck on the line and show some ruthlesness.Yes we WILL beat longford and get this mayo team back to where it belong or even to show he cares.
A late point on the sligo game, people were writing here about the captaincy and who should it be.Well there was a clear answer,Keith Higgins.When the game was on the line he drove forward when mayo had the ball, and read everything when we didn’t. Please keith if you read this,have a crap game to show you are human.An absoloute exceptional footballer.Plays the game the right way aswell.
And Innocentbystander please outline for me once more the halcyon achievements of O Mahony in the same period. This is a guy thats talking UP Longford for Gods sake. Of course when you have accounted for Sligo, New York, Galway, Roscommon and Cavan in four years of fustering then Longford might appear tough to Johhno. Already Sligo have wiped out one of JOMs results, if we leave him long enough the Rossies and New York will tidy theirs up as well.