It shows you how little attention I pay to football that when it came down to the last two
balls cylinders for the latest qualifier draw, all I was certain of was that Waterford were still in their pot. When Ger Canning gave a quiet chuckle about the interest level attached to the two teams left I couldn’t for the life of me work out what pairing with Port Láirge could possibly be called ‘interesting’. It turned out it was the 1901 All-Ireland hurling champions, fresh off the back of their first football Championship victory since 1977, and you have to admit that they’re more interesting than us.
My immediate reaction was that this was great. Admittedly a home draw would have been nice and they did beat us a few years back, but London have generally only been one step above Kilkenny in the pecking order. This year they picked up two ‘wins’ but one of them was against the Cats and the other a walkover when Leitrim cited financial pressure to not travel – it’s hard to know which was more worthless.
And yet the consensus seems to be that London will be firm favourites with Pat Spillane, alongside a decent quip where he wondered whether arrangements would need to be made for David Cameron to see his county on All-Ireland final day, airily putting Waterford in with the other also-rans at this stage of the qualifiers. This seems to be quite the leap to make based on form. Yes, London gave Mayo a good rattle in the Connacht championship but Mayo are the football equivalent of Waterford, a top county of whom no one is scared. And Fermanagh were clearly in the crapper before their game this weekend with their assistant manager saying their target was “just being in front at the final whistle“. They were ripe for the plucking. Or should I say flushing.
Now, one could argue that London have benefitted from an influx of emigrants from the ould sod, but I’ve yet to read any specifics as to who these Gooch-wannabes boosting London football are. Perish the thought that people like Spillane are boosting London because they provide good quote. The trickiness of this assignment is a function of what’s in our collective head rather than what’s going to be on the pitch in Ruislip. We’re screwed, aren’t we?