With the World Cup upon us, it’s timely that the Airtricity League should take its mid-season break.
Already several of the managers have stated that it will give their (in many cases) part-time players a chance to rest their weary bones after an exceedingly busy schedule since the League kicked off in March, with most clubs having played roughly two matches a week on average.
Players with minor injuries will be able to put their feet up for a while, and players with more serious injuries will have an extra couple of weeks to recover, without missing matches.
The reality for the League is that the break really has to happen when a World Cup is underway for a couple of reasons.
With three matches a day in the early stages, it would be inevitable that domestic matches would be clashing with games on the TV, and there would only be one winner in that situation.
The other important point is that the vital oxygen of publicity for the games would be starved with wall-to-wall, cover-to-cover reportage and analysis of the Finals in South Africa, and that’s not taking into account the fight for column inches with the Football and Hurling Championships, which are getting more interesting, with more of the big counties starting to come face-to-face.
So we all get a break. Well actually, WE don’t, because for the MNS team it’s all hands on deck for RTE’s coverage of the World Cup Finals, and whisper it, but some of the team will also be working on the GAA Championship coverage.
I have to say after a diet of 56 televised matches on RTE over the course of the World Cup, I’ll be dying to get back out in the fresh air to see a real football match being played.
I’m hoping that that will be the general feeling, and that lots of supporters will have had their appetite for the games here whetted.
Of course the flip side of the coin could be that some fans will be footballed out by the end of the Finals and might decide to steer clear for a while.
Hopefully the general feeling for most will be the former rather than the latter.
Of course a huge date for League of Ireland clubs will be the 21st of June.
The draw for the qualifying rounds in the Champions and Europa Leagues will be made.
Supporters of Bohs, Rovers, Sporting and Dundalk will all be waiting with baited breath to see who the opposition will be, and how expensive the flights to wherever they will be going might be.
For many supporters, that’s the most important footballing matter that will occur in June. Forget about what’s happening in South Africa!
When Fabio O’Brien and Fran Gavin made the draw for the fourth round of the Cup, more fans were waiting with baited breath.
I think the idea of having the draw immediately after the previous round is much better than waiting for a few weeks, when some of the buzz has died down.
Now fans of Finn Harps and Sligo have a few weeks to anticipate a great derby match, as do Galway and Salthill, Bohs and Shels, and all the rest of the teams that went into the draw drum last Monday.
As Eamonn Donohoe said to me afterwards, the Cup specialists are playing against a team who haven't lifted the trophy since 1987!
No doubt the visit of the Hoops to Longford will create plenty of excitement in the midlands.
Incidentally thanks to everyone on facebook who suggested that myself and Tony Cousins had been separated at birth. Obviously I'm better looking so I can't see where the comparison is coming from.
The World Cup should provide many, many great moments over the next few weeks, and hopefully a few mad goal celebrations as well, like we saw from Glenville after their goal against Bohs in the Cup.
I wonder did Glenville's players ever wonder if they'd be considered trail blazers for the 32 teams going to South Africa for the finals.
For what it's worth, I fancy Brazil or Spain will win. I'd love Argentina to win, for Diego Maradona. I know he's probably not the best role model for youngsters getting involved in sport, but my God, he was a great, great player, and in Argentina he is God.
Watch out for Serbia as dark horses for the tournament.
Top goalscorer: Luis Fabiano of Brazil maybe. He was banging them in for Sevilla last season and if they get a good run going, he's worth watching.
Roll on the fun and games and make sure you watch it on RTE.
Until the next MNS on the 28th of June – enjoy.