It’s the biggest week of the season for everyone. We will train Tuesday, Friday and hopefully have a full pitch match on Saturday. With a public holiday next week, a lot of the lads have planned in a couple of days at home prior to Limerick. It will be the last chance for many to stake their claim for a place on the Championship panel so that should bring an extra edge to things.
The clutter for places has reduced a little with the news that both Johnny O and Hudson have been ruled out due to work commitments. On top of that, we lost Collie Byrne to a recurrence of a calf injury last Friday night and the Bull will be in Haiti building houses.
Despite this, we have enough lads available to give myself and Conan selection headaches. We’ve options on each line of the pitch and separating guys won’t be easy, especially as so many have stepped up at recent tournaments. The fact the tournament is in Ireland will mean that family and friends will be in attendance and that is driving everyone on that little bit more.
By Saturday evening, everything will be a little clearer but we will probably still hold back on naming the panel until the middle of next week as you are guaranteed someone will have to pull out for one reason or another.
Whichever way it turn out, we should be competitive in both competitions. In the previous two rounds of the Championship, we couldn’t complain too much about the manner of our exits but we still left knowing we were only a score or two off the pace.
The Shield team has only had one outing and were eliminated by a shoot out in Leuven. Looking at the potential panel that will be on display, there is serious potential to cause a shock or two. They will face some heavy hitters with Amsterdam leading the charge. Our neighbours travel with one hand very tightly gripped on the cup but the likes of Frankfurt will be hell-bent on spoiling the party.
So plenty to focus the minds this week. Five sessions and counting.