The Tuesday night after Donegal scraped through the 2014 All-Ireland quarter-final, Jim McGuinness crammed his players into a makeshift portable building at Donegal’s yet-to-be-built Centre of Excellence in Convoy.
Just one Munster man — Cork GAA CEO Kevin O’Donovan — is involved in the new fixtures task force (four from Leinster, three each from Connacht and Ulster) but at least there are several members hailing from dual counties.
Same as it ever was, then. An 11th Leinster title in 12 seasons for Dublin, another lopsided scoreline and a renewed bout of hand-wringing as to what the rest of the province – and everyone else – can possibly do to reduce a gap that shows no sign of closing anytime soon.
The Leinster Council’s decision to choose Nowlan Park as the venue for Dublin’s opening defence of their provincial title may have come from left-field, but the Kilkenny ground will not be virgin territory for all of Jim Gavin’s footballers.
You could feel it building around Kerry all last week. A sort of guarded sense of hope. Nothing cocky - how could you be against your chief tormentors of recent years? But the optimism of a solid league campaign had started to seep its way into Kerry’s consciousness.