John Fogarty lists 100 reasons why we should be excited for when inter-county GAA season resumes:
1. Children’s half-time pitch incursions.
2. And for Cian Lynch’s next trick...
3. All-Ireland hurling semi-final weekend. Next to Masters weekend, the best in sport.
4. Patrick Horgan’s first touch.
5. David Clifford’s left foot.
6. David Clifford’s right foot (should we have put the right first?).
7. The manic beauty that is hurling.
8. A fit-again Joe Canning.
9. A pointed sideline cut. Canning the provider of many.
10. A pointed sideline kick. Seán O’Shea can oblige.
11. Amhrán na bhFiann.
12. A heaving Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
13. Total hurling. Often confused with sweeper hurling.
14. Brian Cody spitting on his hands (it might just be permissible again).
15. A car pass.
16. All the pipe bands — Seán Treacy (Moycarkey Borris); The CBS; Castlelyons; St Michael’s Enniskillen.
17. Brendan Maher, hurley broken or intact.
18. Dublin’s senior male footballers after Leinster.
19. Dublin’s senior female footballers after Leinster.
20. Shane Walsh. Untouchable so far this season.
21. A towering Lee Chin catch.
22. Jack, Paul, and Micheál and how they fare in Leinster.
23. The Tyrone Tribulations Twitter account (@gombeen1).
24. Hawk-Eye suspense. Not to be confused with the unworthy kind or the system’s delay in Thurles.
25. Another injury-free spell for Brian Hurley.
26. A bottle of Football Special in MacCumhaill Park.
27. Nickey Brennan. Former GAA president turned local journalist.
28. A kick-pass to the chest.
29. Offaly hurling beginning to dig themselves out of a hole.
30. John “I’ll shut the whole thing down” Kiely.
31. The Sunday Game theme tune.
32. Antrim hurling on the rise.
33. Marty Morrissey’s omnipresence.
34. The diligence and bonhomie of David Punch, Morrissey’s stats man.
35. Oisín McConville talking football.
36. A certain if not cock-sure umpire.
37. Camogie’s trial rules becoming permanent.
38. James Horan’s cap. It isn’t the source of all his crankiness, though.
39. The sheer elation of getting into Clones early on Ulster final day.
40. Robert Ryan’s calm sideline bouncer qualities.
41. Eoin Murphy’s next goal-defying feat.
42. Bantyisms, phrases as coined by Seamus McEnaney. Examples: “speed kills”, “many a fella has spilled more than I drank”, “I’m stone mad”.
43. Christy Ryan’s blackguarding in Cusack Park.
44. The evergreen Briege Corkery.
45. Championship haircuts.
46. The 2013 Tony Kelly.
47. The 2016 Austin Gleeson.
48. The 2011 Aidan Walsh.
49. Gerry Grogan’s regal tones over the Croke Park PA system.
50. A dry sod.
51. GAA radio on Monday evenings. Radio Kerry’s Terrace Talk. Tipp FM’s Extra-Time. Galway Bay’s Over The Line.
52. Conor McManus close to a sideline. He’ll chance the shot.
53. Mark Nelson. Healy Park’s genial steward.
54. Ladies football’s AFLW contigent returning home.
55. Liam Sheedy’s jaunty walk.
56. Brian Fenton’s ability to float.
57. Carlow’s Tommy Murphy. The gent.
58. Tommy Walsh on the wireless.
59. John Mullane on the wireless.
60. Willie Hegarty on the wireless.
61. A breezeless afternoon.
62. Ross Munnelly playing it again (for) Sam in his 18th season.
63. “Hay, any of ye have cars left in Dr Morris Park? I’m closing the gates.” — Pat O’Callaghan’s shout to the press gantry in Semple Stadium.
64. Mayo’s defiance.
65. Dublin v Kerry again? There would be little complaining.
66. Davy Fitzgerald’s terse pre-match interview.
67. Davy Fitzgerald’s talkative post-match interview.
68. The mere prospect of Davy versus Brian.
69. 2pm throw-ins (print journalists’ manna from heaven).
70. A 99 after working at the aforementioned 2pm game.
71. When the football trumps the scenery in Fitzgerald Stadium.
72. The explaining referee. He isn’t losing.
73. Ashling Thompson back in Cork colours.
74. The jinkering of Graeme Mulcahy.
75. Jack McCaffrey’s football doing the talking (as grateful as we were for Sunday’s plea).
76. Pádraic Joyce’s disdain for bullshit.
77. Ground hurling. What’s seldom is wonderful.
78. A decent follow-up interview for Tuesday’s editions/online. What’s even more seldom is magical.
79. TJ Reid’s wizardry.
80. GAAGo (great for clips of score as it is for ex-pats).
81. A Cork football team with nothing to fear.
82. A soaring Michael Murphy.
83. Anthony Daly talking hurling.
84. Mary Foley’s greeting in Chadwicks Wexford Park.
85. Barry Hickey’s farewell in UPMC Nowlan Park.
86. Muiris McMahon’s divilment in the Croke Park press box.
87. A team lining out as per programme. Heaven sent.
88. TG4 on Wednesday evenings.
89. Mickey Harte’s durability.
90. Ronan Maher’s strike of a ball.
91. Joan Cooney after a Cork victory (GAA presidental vote being the latest).
92. The carvery in the Anner Hotel.
93. Kevin McStay talking sense.
94. The diamond that is Colm Collins.
95. The lumious smart sliotar.
96. Cathal McShane ruling the roost.
97. Conor Moore’s Ger Loughnane.
98. Stephen Cluxton being Stephen Cluxton.
99. The Artane Boys Band.
100. A final parade.