Angry fans

Are refs to soft on the Kilkenny forwards and are their fans the most boring people you could meet? Some Angry Fans think so, anyway. There’s anger too at the GAA top brass for putting on an All Ireland hurling semi final before a quarter final and for charging an extra ? 10 for the privilege of watching it. Angry fans are still putting forward new names for presenters and pundits on the ‘Sunday Game’ while RTE’s Aertel service gets a lash for not keeping up with the game. For the Comment of the Week there’s a prize of a shirt from the exclusive AFR range of leisure wear!

AS A NEUTRAL in Croke Park watching Kilkenny against both Galway and Wexford one thing that really struck me was the alarming amount of soft frees given to the Kilkenny forwards. Henry Shefflin is simply unmarkable for the simple reason that a defender can't make any attempt to legitimately dispossess him or mark him because a free will be given against the defender. By comparison, it was very difficult for a Wexford player to win any kind of a free. I reckon it’s a bit of the ‘Manchester United at Old Trafford Syndrome’ at this stage.There's so much media hype about Kilkenny and their greatness at this stage that most of the refs just seem to be star struck in their presence. –– Evo Morales

AFR’S SHOUT: I have to admit this is not something I’ve noticed in Henry’s or Kilkenny’s game before. But, now that you mention it…

TICK IN THE BOOK

IT IS A COMPLETE lack of respect to the hurlers of Wexford and Kilkenny that they were asked to play in an All-Ireland semi-final as a curtain raiser to an All-Ireland quarter-final replay.That the county boards, particularly Wexford, agreed to this is shocking.Yes, there was a question mark over the extratime issue but if that was the case then move the game to Thurles and have it on at 2 pm. Having been in contact in GAA headquarters they admitted to me that they were concerned how it might look if the Waterford and Cork fans were to leave Croke Park early on Sunday. –– Croppy Boy (email)

AFR’S SHOUT: The majority of fans on the winning side in the Waterford v Cork clash were always going to stay on if the semi final had followed their game, if only to suss out their potential opposition in the All Ireland final. Plus the Wawderfurd fans can’t get enough of Croker these days so the GAA top brass could have had more faith in them.Tick In The Book, Croppy Boy, for suggesting Thurles as a venue. Croker was the correct showcase for another Cork vWaterford thriller.

RED CARD

IT IS A DISGRACE and the height of greed that the GAA took their supporters for granted by not only taking the Waterford and Cork supporters to Dublin, but also charging them an extra " 10 for the privilege. Tickets for the replay were " 45.The original match was " 35 last weekend. –– Sinead O'Dwyer (email)

AFR’S SHOUT: I know money is not always easy to come by for everyone, but where would you get better value in sport or entertainment than ?45 for a couple of matches in Croke Park? GAA ticket prices went up a few months ago for the first time in several years and then only in line with inflation. And, as we know, most of the money filters back down to the counties and clubs anyway.

YELLOW CARD

SOMETHING THAT seems to have been lost in all of this controversy over ticket prices is that the Kerry and Monaghan fans attending the football quarter final tie next Sunday will also have to fork out the extra " 10 for that game. My tickets cost me " 45 each. The Kerry v Monaghan game has been switched to Sunday from the original Saturday date. Presumably to accommodate the majority of Dublin fans on a sabbatical from the Premiership? Now, whatever about Kerry (where the recent exploits of Limerick and the Cork vWaterford saga have caught the imagination of a good few supporters), Monaghan could hardly be described as a hotbed of hurling! I doubt if very many of the huge Monaghan support who are expected to attend (or the regular Kerry diehards for that matter) will stay on for the hurling game. –– John O'Leary (email)

AFR’S SHOUT: I can’t understand this increasing tendency for fans to attend only their own game and then to skedaddle out of Croker to get to the M50 as fast as they can. It’s not like the old days when they had to rush off to catch a train to try to get home to milk the cows. Particularly, when they’re also complaining about how much a day out in Croker costs. Now it seems they just want to get back home in time to watch the ‘Sunday Game’ and listen to ‘TakeYour Point’ on the radio in the SUV.

RED CARD

FURTHER TO discussion on the All-Ireland Hurling quarter final taking top billing from the semi-final last Sunday and the general talk of Leinster’s lack of quality when compared to Munster hurling the following might be of interest. The 'back-door' system has been in operation since 1997 and is in its eleventh year. In those eleven years, we had the following counties in finals: ten Munster teams, eight from Leinster and Galway twice. Five Munster Counties have produced six winners so far. Three Leinster teams have produced four winners.The average win for a Munster team is six wins divided by five teams = 1.2 Average for a Leinster team is four wins divided by three teams = 1.33333333 So, in the ten finals so far played between 1997 and 2006, Leinster hurling is stronger. Yours, tongue in cheekingly –– Conan Doyle (email)

AFR’S SHOUT: A straight Red Card and you’re lucky to get off with only a three month’s suspension Conan, for once again trying to prove that if my Auntie Patti had a beard and moustache she could pass for my Uncle Páidí. AFTER LAST the recent losses by Tipp, Clare and Galway, there is a case to be made that hurling has changed from a decade ago. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is Bab’s ability to 'oscail a bhéal'. I didn’t notice many donkeys winning at the Galway Races, nor were there any Offaly sheep to be seen in a heap at Croke Park. In keeping with the Celtic Tiger era, his outbursts have needed modernisation.The impact of the education system on Tipperary hurling would appear to be his latest gripe. One question though? How did he manage to last so long as manager of the UCD Fitzgibbon Cup team? As always with Babs there are more questions than answers and he will be missed. RTE could do worse than headhunt him for the ‘Sunday Game’. –– Henry J Martin (email)

AFR’S SHOUT: I agree that Babs would make a super pundit for the ‘Sunday Game’. However, RTE may need to sign him up quickly before he heads off to the sunnier environment of Dubai.The All-stars were there a few years ago and they also have a very active GAA club. Maybe Babs will team up with a few of the sheikhs to import a bunch of young hurlers they way they bring in young jockeys for the camel racing? In a few year’s time, Dubai County Board could be challenging for All Ireland honours. If Babs’ problem was with hurlers being ‘too educated’ these days, that’s not saying much for the lads on the UCD Fitzgibbon panel !

TICK IN THE BOOK

SIX TEAMS LEFT in the football and hardly a game to remember so far.There were some decent performances, likeTyrone against Donegal, but overall it’s very poor fare.There seems to be a levelling off in standards, with the overall play being poor, too many wides, excessive pulling and dragging and negative tactics being the norm. Surely the GAA should be investing far more in hurling which, as we all know, is a far better game anyway? –– Uactharán

AFR’S SHOUT: If the Chinese were doing up a new calendar they’d probably dub 2007 as ‘The Year of the Hurler’. Still, Saturday’s Meath v Tyrone game was excellent. So was Meath’s drawn game with the Dubs. And we’ve seen good tussles involving Cavan, Down and Monaghan.A little Tick In The Book, then, for being a bit hard on our footballing friends. Ó CINNÉIDE AND O’Rourke are a great double act.They give very good analysis and don’t sit on the fence. I’d go so far as to swap Ó Cinnéide for Spillane on the ‘Sunday Game’. He is articulate, understands what he’s there for and has broadcasting experience with Raidio na Gaeltachta. He is also easy on the eye or so my missus drools and is not an ignorant buffoon cartoon Kerryman. I’m sure he could feign interest in the hurling too. –– Dan Carter

AFR’S SHOUT: Very important to keep the missus happy, Dan, for all those days when you’re looking for time off to attend the big matches. I’m sure Dara would be glad to know he was a help in that respect.

RED CARD

ARE KILKENNY folk the most consistently boring people of all time? All they can talk about is hurling and the price of Spring lambs –– Wal

AFR’S SHOUT: With the quality of hurlers and lambs they consistently produce, can you blame them? Red Card for an unwarranted slur on some of the decentest fans you could meet. WHAT IS THE problem with Aertel? It is 2.39 pm on Sunday and they have not updated their page for a full day.They are still showing the Sligo v Cork latest score as Sligo 0-1 Cork 0-0.Why do they bother having a page at all if nobody is updating it.? –– Jay Sherman

AFR’S SHOUT: Very bad service. Even allowing for it being a Bank Holiday weekend when most of them seem to clear off out of RTE.The general standard of accuracy and updating of RTE’s online coverage of GAA is not good enough. I JUSTWANT to say that i think the ref’s choice in the Cork/Waterford game was VERYWRONG!! Donal Óg could do nothing because they were on top of him so I think it should have been a throw in on the 20m line!! –– Ciara from Cork (email)

IN VIEW OF the fact that Donal Óg was adjudged to have committed a foul in the small square why were Waterford not awarded a penalty instead of a 20m free ? –– John McCarthy (email)

AFR’S SHOUT: Some Cork fans are obviously still hurting about the drawn game. But, hey, let’s forget the controversy. Let’s salute instead two magnificent teams that have given us some of the greatest hurling games ever seen.

OUR PRIZE of a coveted AFR shirt for Comment of the Week goes to Dan Carter for his promotion of Dara Ó Cinnéide’s broadcasting career. And we might even find one to send to Mrs Carter as well.

CATCH UP with more conversation and craic on ‘An Fear Rua –The GAA Unplugged!’ at www.anfearrua.com.

Get in touch: Give your views and comments to An Fear Rua himself at GAA Angry Fans in ‘The Irish Examiner’? Just drop an email to gaafans@examiner.ie and get AFR’s reaction to what you have to say.

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