The GAA confirmed yesterday that the Division 1 NFL semi-finals will be played as a double-header at Croke Park on Sunday week (15th April). Ourselves and Donegal are already sure of being there and we’ll know on Sunday evening who our respective opponents will be at HQ the following weekend. It’s good for the team to be back playing competitive football at Croker so soon after last September’s debacle and it would be even better if we could get back to winning there while we’re at it.
I have to say that I’m looking forward to seeing some Gaelic football in Croker for a change. I was always a big supporter of opening up Croke Park to rugby and soccer and I managed to get to the rugby match against France and the soccer match against Slovakia but I have to admit to a sense of underwhelment at the spectacle provided by the other two codes. The rugby was interesting but far too technical for my liking, what with all those endless set pieces, while the soccer was just boring and far too long (and that was the match that everyone said was the exciting one). Also, the atmosphere for the internationals – with all that green, the Oireland chants and the Fields of bloody Athenry – left me, I have to confess, rather unmoved. It will be good to have the unstructured chaos that is often Gaelic football back again, with plenty of different colour from the four counties involved. And a win for Mayo.
The team for Sunday’s trip to Omagh has been announced. I haven’t got the print version of the Irish Times yet today and it’s not in the web versions of either the Times or the Indo so my source is the normally reliable Mayofans.com, which I’m assuming is correct. Here it is:
D Clarke; A Higgins, L O’Malley, K Higgins; G Mullins, BJ Padden, E Devenney; P Harte, J Nallen; A Moran, G Brady, A Kilcoyne; C Mortimer, A Dillon, M Conroy.
It appears that Johnno has chosen not take Niccolò’s advice as regards team selection! Players carrying knocks and those, like Campbell, who are on U21 duty tomorrow, have been rested but otherwise this is a strong team. Liam O’Malley gets a run at full-back (where he started last year’s championship) in place of James Kilcullen with Aidan Higgins taking his place at corner-back. Enda Devenney switches wings in the half-backs to replace Peadar Gardiner, with Garry Mullins coming in at right-half. James Nallen comes in for David Heaney at midfield and Andy Moran switches out to right-half forward instead of Aidan Campbell, with Michael Conroy getting an overdue start in his place at top of the left.
Finally, I’m doing a bit of experimentation on the video front. As you can see, I’ve added a sidebar containing videos that are on the newly-established Green and Red YouTube channel. I’m not sure if I’ll leave the sidebar there – it kinda takes up a lot of room and only includes some of the videos on the channel – but, if not I’ll just leave the link to it. By the way, I’ve uploaded more videos from the Fermanagh and Dublin games – one from the former and three more from the latter – and I hope to add video clips from all matches I’m at from here on. Enjoy!