So, tomorrow’s the day, the one where we’ll be bidding to claim our 44th Connacht senior football title while the Magpies will be aiming to land their fourth. And the minors will be seeking to win back the U18 provincial crown from a fancied home team at Hyde Park.
And I’m marooned 2,000 miles or so away – where the heat’s really searing: it’s been over 40ºC at its hottest these last few days, as it is at this very moment now – where I’ll be hoping to catch most of the action on the radio over the internet. Poor form, I know, as regards the football but this has been a family holiday like no other (with oodles of activities for the lot of us) and I’d say the first two weeks in July could, all going well, be blocked out for similar endeavours over the next number of years as well.
Because of where I am and what I’m up to here, I’m not even going to pretend that I’m going to do any kind of comprehensive report on the match tomorrow. As well as being Connacht final day, tomorrow is also our final night here as we fly back on Monday night, arriving home – via a London stopover in the small hours – on Tuesday morning. Because of this there’ll be no post-match round-up on Monday but I’ll attempt to reconnect to things properly at some stage before Tuesday is over.
We’re obviously favourites to win in the big one tomorrow and although it’s been a distraction for the media, I can’t see that the peroxide tantrum will have any significant impact on James Horan or his squad of players. It might give Sligo a bit more of a pep in their step but our prep should have been geared towards overcoming whatever the Yeatsmen throw at us and so events this week shouldn’t mean we’re any less well prepared to meet this challenge than we otherwise would have been.
Instead of Conor and all that, what I think the lads need to keep focused on is the need to level the score for that craven capitulation to the same opposition back in 2010. This is particularly true of those who were directly involved that day. Sligo beat us with a fair bit to spare that June evening in a match where we never played to our potential and so we need to show them tomorrow what an on-form Mayo team is capable of. If we do this, I’d be reasonably confident we’ll retain the Nestor Cup. I can see from the poll here on the site (which I’m now going to decommission) that I’m not alone in this: 79% of you also think we’re going to do it.
Best of luck to the two Mayo teams playing tomorrow – here’s hoping both teams will claim the significant silverware that’s on offer at Hyde Park.