A small memo here to all our hurling referees — please start calling these games as ye see them and forget about the assessor in the stands?
I saw one of those guys in Pearse Stadium lately, up there in the comfort of the press-box in his suit and tie making decisions at his ease on how the man down on the field was doing under pressure.
We had two men sent off yesterday and a whole deck of cards issued. No allowance made for the conditions. I blame John Sexton but I also blame the GAA for this nonsense. And you know something, almost any time we’ve seen referees applying their common-sense, the shackles off as in the All-Ireland final and replay last year, we’ve had decent games.
But I’d say what Danny Owens and the Kilcormac-Killoughey management team will regret most about this All-Ireland final is the challenge game they played last Sunday that cost them Daniel Currams, their top forward. I know you can also lose a player to injury in training but it’s less likely than in a game.
A goal and a point was all Kilcormac-Killoughey scored from play yesterday, both from Danny’s replacement Trevor Fletcher (Messi would have been proud of the goal) but Currams was definitely missed.
Having said that, Danny Owens has done a fantastic job with this team and they will be back.
Defence won this for St Thomas’s yesterday. To concede just 1-1 from play tells you an awful lot and their half-back line of Enda Tannian and the brothers Darragh and Sean Burke was absolutely outstanding. The full-back line too was well on top.
Kilcormac-Killoughey also had an impressive defence though it has to be noted too, the conditions didn’t exactly favour forwards. The two Healions, full-back Ger and centre-back Peter, were twin towers while wing-back Brian Leonard also caught the eye. Midfielder Damien Kilmartin did trojan work but he was one of the two to eventually fall foul of the referee. A pity.
On the scoring front, and in very difficult conditions, Ciarán Slevin was picture-perfect from placed balls, eight from eight till finally missing a 65.
Not a classic All-Ireland final then but you must give massive credit to St Thomas’s. I know the area they come from. It’s a small parish, Kilchreest, and this was a real family affair.
I’d say the whole team comes from four or five houses. It just goes to show what can be achieved in any club in the country, no matter how small, when they really apply themselves.
There’s a lot of talent spread throughout the team. I’ve mentioned the defence, but David Burke and James Regan worked really hard in midfield while up front the two tanks, Bernard Burke and Shane Cooney, showed there’s more to them than just power, with a lot of intelligence in their hurling.
And of course their two big guns, Conor Cooney and Richie Murray; when they were most needed, that’s when they were most obvious. Murray especially, turned back the clock here. He was a brilliant minor with Galway, unfortunate with injury at senior level, but hitting 1-2 from play yesterday he will never get better or bigger scores for St Thomas’s. It makes you wonder why Galway can’t make the inter-county breakthrough when the club scene is so strong.
Well done to St Thomas’s, delighted for them.