Few counties have as many players involved in the Fitzgibbon Cup as Cork and the tight turnaround this week is a fair test of those involved and a clear indication of what exactly fixture congestion means to those most affected by it, writes
When the GAA redrew and reshaped the fixtures calendar last year, I was raging with the plan because I felt it would strangle hurling’s profile. The early part of the season was a boom but it still felt like an early season tournament to clear the runway for a football take-off.
At last, the long wait is over. As soon as last year’s championship ended, the pining for the electricity and excitement which super-charged all hurling people, and genuine sports lovers everywhere, had almost begun again. This season seemed like a lifetime away last August but now that the winter and spring and the tedious wait has passed, the championship has almost arrived in a blink.
A storming first-half helped UCC secure a home quarter-final in the Fitzgibbon Cup, following their seven-point victory over NUIG at the 4G pitch in Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday afternoon. Unbeaten after three games, they topped Group A.
Having scored four points in a row, Tipp were given a great opportunity to forge further clear as Robert Byrne’s clearance broke for Mark Kehoe, who did well to claim possession despite being outnumbered by Cork defenders.
First off, Tipperary won’t be as deficient as they were in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Similarly, Cork’s collective output won’t be at the same untouchable level that it was at on July 4. What you’ll find materialising will be somewhere in the middle.