That wasn’t the brightest of league openers Dundalk have ever had, going down to a huge defeat to their near neighbours. You could say it was far from hunky dory at United Park, but there’s no reason for despondency.
Not there to see the rout, and maybe just as well, was Jim McCourt. Reason? Jim is hors de combat, in hospital recovering for an ailment he’s been suffering from for almost two months.
But word from this most loyal of Orielites is that he’s doing well, looking forward to presenting his season ticket, which he’s been doing for the past 60 seasons. Indeed, Friday night’s season opener was the first he’s missed in all those years.
But don’t think Jim’s been out of touch. His brother-in-law, Frank Conroy, another Oriel loyalist with whom your penciller linked for years in getting this sheet on the street, is a regular visitor and is never off the phone. Then, last week he had delivery of the excellent Democrat supplement Gavin McLaughlin and his team produced to kick-off the season.
Jim’s hopes at the beginning of last season, Stephen Kenny’s first in charge, was that there’d be a mid-table finish. What transpired was way beyond his wildest dreams.
Speaking before last Friday night, he said he doesn’t want to get his expectations “too high”, but will be disappointed if there’s not a top four finish at least.
No, he wouldn’t want to revise his opinion, but will be hoping, no doubt, that by the time he gets along to see the Lilywhites, there are scores on the doors, or, more important, points in the table.