Are vulnerable Kilkenny resigned to their fate?

Too many games is never a bad complaint but this past weekend’s inter-county GAA action and affairs takes a lot of digesting.

Are vulnerable Kilkenny resigned to their fate?

1

It’s rare that we have seen Kilkenny set out their stall as a team more difficult to beat than one out to beat the opposition.

Brian Cody is using sweepers and flooding midfield with the hope of suffocating the opposition.

It has had mixed results and his view about Kilkenny supporters’ low expectations after Saturday’s win over Limerick was interesting. Do we detect an element of resignation? Are the Cats in the bag waiting to drown?

2

After eight months of preparations, Limerick hurlers’ championship ended after two games. “If you only knew how much we’ve done,” said John Kiely.

For those who myopically yearn for the return of the knockout championship, the proposal to make the provinces round-robin affairs will be anathema but two outings for a young and promising side like Limerick is not enough.

3

RTÉ’s GAA coverage has come in for considerable criticism of late, including from Paul Galvin who has claimed The Sunday Game is a liability to the GAA and to the national broadcaster. The coverage sure doesn’t help itself at times.

There have been high points this summer like John Mullane’s radio co-commentary in the Wexford-Kilkenny game but the Diarmuid Connolly controversy highlighted how negligent it can be of its responsibilities.

Also, some of its attempts at humour are cringeworthy. Michael Duignan’s reaction to the dramatic music added after yesterday’s qualifier draw on Morning Ireland was akin to Buzz Aldrin’s bemused look listening to Donald Trump’s recent buffoonish remarks about space.

4

For the second time in the space of two weeks, the blood substitution loophole was taken advantage of on Sunday when Kerry used seven substitutions.

Fionn Fitzgerald was hardly going to return to the field after his heavy knock early in the second half but Killian Young was deemed a temporary replacement and played until the final whistle.

In their first round qualifier win over Antrim, Sligo also removed almost half of their team from the field by game’s end but that included Mark Breheny who had suffered a wound and was benched for Kyle Cawley. Until a time limit is put on such substitutions, the rule will continue to be exploited.

5

Speaking of blood subs, the Longford fan’s jersey story from Ballybofey on Saturday should be treasured but allow us to poop the party for a moment: Would any of the bigger football counties forget to pack a spare jersey? Doesn’t it further underline the disparity between the haves and have-nots? (Ed — Spoilsport)

6

Some of Galway’s hurlers didn’t seem to take too kindly to our criticism of their ‘homecoming’ after the league final but it was coming from the right place.

Too often in the past the county has lost the run of itself and the St Thomas’ event, which featured on national radio, was unnecessary.

Their response to annexing the Bob O’Keeffe Cup has been a lot more low-key and comments like Joe Canning’s, who says they didn’t play all that well despite the nine-point win over Wexford, serves as a warning to everyone.

7

July won’t be out before at least one of football’s big three — Kerry or Mayo — will have exited the championship. Mayo could go in Ennis this Saturday, or at a neutral venue on July 22.

If they come through both those games, and if Galway beat Roscommon on Sunday, Mayo will face Kerry in Croke Park on July 29. Going back to 2011, one of the two has reached every All-Ireland final.

8

What made Aidan O’Shea’s man-of-the-match performance against Derry on Saturday more stirring was the fact he suffered personal trauma before the game having learned a close friend of his went missing in Canada while swimming. The fortitude of Gaelic players never ceases to amaze.

9

Provincial councils, particularly Munster’s, are fond of curtain-raisers and while the Kerry-Clare minor final in Killarney on Sunday didn’t look too appealing, David Clifford’s involvement meant a larger than usual proportion of the home crowd ignored the town’s earlier opening pub hours to watch the starlet.

Should he spurn the AFL advances, Clifford will inspire more than just punctuality.

10

Listening to Peadar Healy after Sunday’s heavy defeat to Kerry, it seems Cork’s footballers are caught in a philosophical bind.

“We were hoping going into the game, coming into Killarney, to be there with them 20 minutes into the game and get our running game going.”

Yet Healy is on record as intimating Cork need to kick the ball more. So what is it? Healy has obviously been heavily influenced by Kerry but in trying to copy them, Cork may have forgotten to be themselves.

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