Looking back on the weekend National League finals they were all interesting enough games. I suppose the big thing to come out of them is that both Tyrone and Mayo have still a bit of work to do and are far from the finished articles.
Kildare have definitely made progress under Kieran McGeeney and look to have improved from last year and after watching them on Sunday, I feel they may be a good bet for winning Leinster, and that is not ruling out Dublin.
As for Tyrone, Mickey Harte will have learned a fair bit from Sunday’s game, but again looking ahead to the championship, they play Armagh in the first round and I feel they will have bother with the Orchard Co. Armagh are a more physical side and are streets ahead when it comes to experience and on the face of it look to be too strong for the O’Neill Co boys just now.
The one thing that disappointed me about Tyrone was that the older and more experienced players did not perform against Kildare. That must be a worry for Mickey and have left him with a few doubts.
The only thing I will say is that you can never write Tyrone off and I’m certainly not going to do so.
Like Tyrone, Mayo have made progress under James Horan, but again, too, they still have a distance to go to break into the big three or four.
They definitely have improved, but I’m not so sure if their new more physical approach suits them. I personally feel it is a bit alien to the Mayo style and for that reason I’m not all that sure it is an approach that is going to work for them.
Having said that while Galway could rattle them in Connacht (or for that matter Roscommon), I still think they are the best team in Connacht and are still my fancy for the Connacht championship.
Despite winning a fourth league in-a-row - one Division Two and three Division Ones - and given they have probably been the most consistent team in the championship, I still have my doubts about them. They are all very good footballers, big, strong and physical. But I just don’t know if they have that real killer instinct and of course there is Kerry, their real nemesis.
They are a good side and don’t get me wrong, they will still be about at the business end of the year, but as to whether or not they have what it takes to go all the way and lift Sam Maguire, it’s just that I’m not so sure.
After weekend and judging where we are in the scheme of things I would place us joint fourth with Kildare and behind the big three of Dublin, Kerry and Cork.
Despite Kildare’s win and performance at the weekend if I was pushed I would still put us ahead of the Lilywhites. We have more natural footballers and contrary to the common view I believe we have improved from last year.
I think we proved that in the latter stages of the league when the chips were down and we had to get the result.
It was good to see another busy weekend of action on the domestic season. The All-County Leagues are going well and club footballers are getting a continuity of games.
Finally, watching the county minors in recent weeks it is good to see the sons of former players coming through and playing on the minor team. Matt Gallagher, Martin and James McHugh, Charlie Mulgrew, Michael Gallagher and Paul Carr, all members of the ‘92 squad, have sons on this year’s team.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack.