It was semi-final press night last night down at McHale Park and so the Fourth Estate were there in numbers to hear of a knock suffered at training by Trevor Mortimer. The story was broken by RTÉ (using its Sunday Game Twitter account) who said the following:
Then TV3’s Kieran McSweeney was asked if he knew what the crack was, like, and he responded in the following terms:
I’ve just done a quick hunt around the online versions of the dailies and there’s nothing as yet in any of them but RTÉ have longish piece with James Horan on their website. I didn’t catch the sports news section on Morning Ireland earlier on this morning but I suspect most of this interview would have been carried there as well.
On Trevor, all that’s said (right at the end) is that he picked up a knock but the piece concludes by saying that James “hopes all his players will be available for training this Friday”. By that I’d assume they mean not just Trevor but Peadar Gardiner, Mark Ronaldson, Aidan O’Shea and David Clarke too.
That’s all there is to the story for now so I guess there’s no point fretting any further about it. Obviously, if we’re to have a real chance of toppling the Kerrymen on Sunday week we need to be playing with a full deck (as it appears certain they will) so it’s a case of fingers, toes and everything else crossed in the hope that we’ll head into it at full strength.
Back to that interview that James did with RTÉ last night, where he had plenty to say but seems to have delivered it in his usual matter-of-fact way. On the way we were written off in advance of the Cork game he said this:
It did us no harm. In the lead up to the Cork match we were ready. There was a lot of things said about us and our players which probably wasn’t right and wasn’t fair. It did certainly did us no harm to hear some of that and maybe it didn’t do Cork any favours too.
On the Kerrymen, he had this to say:
Kerry have been there so often that they won’t be fooled by a favourites tag or an underdog tag and we’ll just be looking to make sure we’re as competitive as we can be.
On the ‘Connacht is junk status’ issue, he said this:
I think a lot of that criticism is from people that are maybe trying to be sensationalist or maybe just trying to create some of sort of story. It is true that a lot of the games in Connacht this year were not great but the conditions weren’t great either. The teams that got through Connacht this year, Roscommon and ourselves, have acquitted themselves well and hopefully we can continue that.
He then went on to say that when he took over confidence was on the floor but that having set goals for the year and then used the league as “a development ground” for the championship he’s happy with where we are now and is looking forward to Sunday week.
As well as the way he has developed the team and brought it to where we are in the championship, I think the way James has handled the national media this year has been very impressive. He exudes an air of coolness and calmness, one that the hacks appear to be warming to. And, unlike Sunday week’s opponents, there was no “yerra, look it, in all fairness” bullshit out of him and I doubt that this will change between now and when the lads hit Croke Park on Sunday week.