Munster last year was a once-in-a-generation treat

Clare’s Donal Tuohy in action against Limerick’s Cian Lynch at the LIT Gaelic Grounds last Sunday. Picture: Diarmuid Greene

Munster hasn’t caught fire but still smouldering

So we learned that Clare are gone from this year’s championship after back to back hammerings. Only they’re not, because in the new round-robin system a win over Cork, visiting next week, and they’re right back in contention for the All-Ireland series.

Cork put Waterford to the sword with a double-digit beating on Saturday night but their summer hinges now on the trip to Cusack Park on Sunday.

This year’s Munster Championship hasn’t caught fire like last year’s — which was a tall order; looking back now there was a once-every-20-years quality to the 2018 vintage.

But the (still) new format at least guarantees us some interest in the final round of games. Which isn’t something you could say of every provincial championship.

How do you solve a problem like Dublin?

The small crowd in Croke Park for the Leinster SFC double-header confirms the general perception that the football championship to the east is in dire straits, but what’s the answer?

When the Leinster hurling championship became dangerously one-sided, GAA chiefs were able to parachute in a Galway side desperate for competitive games: a solution that suited everybody.

That’s not an option available in Gaelic football, however. A general exhortation to other counties to close the gap on Dublin is as good as it gets, but what happens when this year’s attendance figures drop even further next season?

McCann will face the music

Tiernan McCann was the name on most lips this morning in GAA circles, which is appropriate enough. The Tyrone footballer seemed to have his hands on the lips of Stephen McMenamin of Donegal last weekend.

If you missed this incident, you need only log onto your internet-capable device to see the clip from their Ulster SFC game in Breffni Park.

The few seconds of video do McCann no favours — he makes contact with McMenamin’s face when the latter was on the ground — and as we’re honour-bound to put it, it’s an incident the GAA is likely to revisit.

As it happens, McCann limped off with a leg injury, but his season may come to a premature end anyway once Croke Park finds his mobile number and invites him down for a hearing.

Clucko has travelled a long way

In this week’s Irish Examiner GAA Podcast, you can hear contributors pay tribute to the extraordinary career of Stephen Cluxton, the Dublin goalkeeper who represented his county for the 100th time last weekend (no, I am not using the word ‘cap’).

Cluxton has been a silent, impressive presence for so long that it’s almost difficult now to remember — as Mike Quirke pointed out on the podcast — that he predates the smooth-running sky-blue machine which is now teetering on the edge of a historic five All-Ireland titles in a row.

When Cluxton started, the Dubs were wandering in the wilderness and back in the pack in Leinster. It’d be interesting to hear the goalkeeper describe the journey from then until now, warts and all. Maybe someday.

Crunching the Munster numbers

Because sports journalists tend to struggle in totting up the scorers at a hurling game (“1-10? I only have him down for 1-9! 1-10?”), working out the permutations of the Munster senior hurling championship has proved testing for many colleagues.

The gentlemen of the media were sprawled across the Limerick press area on Sunday trying to work out if Clare beat Cork, and Limerick drew with Tipperary next Sunday, and bearing in mind the scoring difference...

I know the travails of the working press are not a significant human rights infringement for readers, so I will stop short of claiming asylum for political cruelty. But the GAA should really start providing calculators to put us out of our misery.

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