Bertie finally put us out of our misery this morning by confirming that polling day in the General Election will take place on 24th May, i.e. just four days after we square up to Galway in the Connacht championship. He did also, by the way, formally call the election having got the President to dissolve the 29th Dail but that's another story, one well beyond my remit here. There was some speculation over the past week that polling day might not be till 31st May but, sadly, that did not prove to be the case. The 24th it is and so The Great One will be full-time out on the stump over the coming three weeks as our date with destiny in Salthill comes ever closer too.
Personally, I think it's all a waste of time. Not the election - no, I'm fairly partial to this particular blood sport and, with this Dail have lasted longer than any other since the foundation of the State, it must be said that the election is well overdue. Rather, it's the prospect of Johnno traipsing around the county over the next few weeks, shaking hands, slapping backs and trading inanities with the general populace. To my mind, if FG want that third seat in Mayo then Messrs Kenny and Ring (especially the latter) need to jointly get the finger out and make sure that Our Man gets enough first preferences to stay clear of elimination in the early rounds and put him in the frame for the final seat. Then, his side of the bargain should be to spend all his wakeful time on the team, ensuring that they're fully prepared and ready for Galway. Victory in Salthill should then ensure a carpeting of lower preference votes for him, votes which could just propel him into the 30th Dail. The beauty of this approach is that, even if it doesn't work and he fails to get elected, we'll still have beaten Galway. After that, who cares about the election result?
To help him on his way, Johnno's hopes for victory in Salthill got a boost today with confirmation that Super Mac has returned to full training. This could mean that he'll play some part in the Galway match. He might even start, though I think that's stretching credulity just a little.