Tomorrow’s match against Limerick

I’m posting this far later than I’d intended to but I got caught up watching the rugby. What a performance that was, one that – unlike the France game – did justice to the marvellous surroundings in Croker.

Anyway, back to the more prosaic location of Castlebar tomorrow where the lads face a crunch match in Division 1A of the NFL against Limerick. With Tyrone losing unexpectedly down in Cork tonight, we’ll take the field tomorrow back in fifth spot in the table, as Cork’s better points difference puts them into third place. This goes to show, yet again, just how tight this Division is going to be.

I gave details of the team yesterday but I’m still trying to figure out what Johnno is up to, given the many changes he’s made. From the back, Clarke is obviously being punished for his costly error against Donegal and O’Malley deserves a chance so I suppose now is as good a time as any. The full-back line is starting to look settled but only if they perform a bit better than they have so far. Kilcullen has shown some promise in the no.3 spot but has yet to provide convincing proof that he’s the man for the job. The half-back line now looks positively exciting, with BJP improving all the while and now flanked by two real speedsters. Devenney has loads to offer (and he’s keeping Heaney out of the side into the bargain) but now’s the time to start showing that he can do it when it counts.

McGarritty’s comeback is predictable but I have to say I feel a bit sorry for Pat Harte, who has scored 1-1 in the two matches played to date and who could do with a regular place in the team. However, DB is now almost the first name on the teamsheet and McGarritty’s selection is probably an example of Johnno’s “Horses for Courses” policy for this match, in that he’s opting for the more experienced man to partner Brady.

In the much-changed forward line, there are plenty of questions. Here are a few. Why blood Campbell in a match like this? Why is KoN in the half-forwards? Why is Andy Moran in the full-forward line? Why no Killer? I can see the logic of playing Ger Brady and Trev at 11 and 14 respectively (Horses for Courses again) and the same logic applies to the dropping of Conor M and Austie (both could well come on at some stage in the match). However, I don’t follow what the Great Man is up to with the other placings and I don’t think we’re any closer to having a settled forward line.

Limerick, by the way, will field the same fifteen that started against Fermanagh last weekend, albeit with a few positional changes. The Limerick team is:

S Kiely; S Gallagher, J McCarthy, P Browne; P Ahern, T Cahill, P Ranaghan; J Galvin, T Carroll; G Noonan, J Ryan, J Cooke; J O’Brien, D Horan, M Reidy.

Onto predictions: 3-0 to us, in short. RTE think it’ll be close but that we’ll do it, while Setanta and the Irish Times (no link) both opt for us as well.

Finally, the Indo has an interesting article about the betting odds for the All-Ireland, which they say show that Mayo are one of only five counties that the bookies give any chance of winning the Sam Maguire. Kerry, Dublin, Tyrone and Armagh are, unsurprisingly, the other four.

That’s it – back on Monday after tomorrow’s match.

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