Deflection and diversion are Peter Keane’s tools of the trade and on Sunday he was at it again, telling the media that “every old point you can get, you’ll take”.
Kerry have won six games this year by an aggregate of 94 points, an average of almost 16 points per game. It’s called for some cuter hoorism from Peter Keane who has clearly established his own rules of yerra:
“That result could have gone the other way just as handily,” Keane following May’s 4-21 to 0-11 opening Division 1 South win over Galway in Tralee.
“If you took the goals out of the game there wasn’t a whole pile in the scoreboard,” Keane after the 6-15 to 1-14 Division 1 semi-final win over Tyrone last month.
“Seemingly, they put up a big score in the second half, did they?” Keane after Dublin beat Mayo the day before Kerry beat Tyrone in their respective 2019 All-Ireland semi-finals.
“They came across each other earlier in the year in Division 1. What was the result in that game?” Keane on Sunday about this Saturday’s Ulster final.
“I’m running out of fingers!” he remarked after he was told the 11-point Munster semi-final win over Tipperary had brought their aggregate winning total to 43 for their last three games.
“I got lost,” he said in 2020 about his first ever trip to Páirc Uí Chaoimh. “I went with my father Tom and my uncle. I went back out to the wrong tunnel. I went missing for a while but that’s a long time ago.”
What Keane said after qualifying for the 2019 All-Ireland final against Dublin: “I left the dressing room below and Shane Ryan was on the phone to Gerard Murphy of Vincent Murphy’s Sports in Castleisland. His biggest problem was would he get two pairs of boots or three pairs of boots, because he’d have the boots worn out so much from kicking the ball out to Dublin.”
On Donie Buckley’s omission from the management team: “What I can say is that we parted company, I don’t get into individual discussions I have with either members of the management or the players. You have privileged discussions going on all of the time and that would be a breach of them. That is where it is.”
On Sunday, Keane was asked if he intended going to the Ulster final on Saturday to see their would-be All-Ireland semi-final opponents Monaghan or Tyrone. “I don’t know. I might have to turn in and do a bit of work at home, bank holiday weekend.”
Keane was asked before last November’s Munster semi-final could he remember what he was doing on May 24 when Kerry were originally expected to face Cork. “That day now at about two o’clock I was inside in the shop, PK’s ice cream parlour, and I was having a banoffee pie. It was absolutely gorgeous! I have no idea what I was doing!”
“Bits of leg injuries. I’ll worry about them, don’t worry,” after a number of queries, Keane’s assessment of Paul Geaney and James O’Donoghue’s issues last winter.
“If you picture any bar counter or any car in normal times coming to a game and going to a game and picking the teams and should Tommy Walsh be playing, should be not be playing, is Peter Keane a clown, does he know what he is doing, does he not know what he is doing, should he have left this fella kick that free, should he have taken this fella off?” Keane speaking last year.
“Yerra, Peter Keane is getting ready to go home, the same way he’d have to go home either which way, whether we won or lost.” — after last year’s league draw with Dublin in Croke Park.
The good news for Liam Cahill is he has at least one more game to find a way around the difficulties he has with the maor foirne role being removed.
“The rule of taking away the maor foirne is a disaster, it really is,” he bemoaned after Saturday’s qualifier win over Galway. “I can understand a lot of why it was looked at initially because of the activity in and around the field, a nightmare for referees. But not every maor foirne abused it.”
According to match regulation 2.10, two of Cahill, his coach Michael Bevans and his selectors, Stephen Frampton and Tom Feeney, are permitted to be hurley carriers. As it states: “Official team personnel (Selectors/Coaches) may act as Maor Camán but substitutes, injured players, or members of the extended panel may not.”
We have already seen the likes of mic’d-up Diarmuid O’Sullivan for Cork and Tipperary’s Eoin Kelly being deployed as maor camans so there is the potential for Waterford to follow suit should they feel the need to get a message across from the other side of the field or elsewhere on the same sideline.
Some commentators have remarked that O’Sullivan and Kelly fulfilling such roles isn’t a positive image just like British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has referred to his South African opposite number Rassie Erasmus acting as waterboy to pass on instructions as “not a good look for the game”.
With the recent hot weather, more discretion has been shown by referees in allowing players to take on water outside of the designated water breaks. Should that continue, it might allow the hurley carriers to enter the field not to come to the assistance of their players but to provide tactical directions.
Before Bill Cooper made his late appearance in LIT Gaelic Grounds on Sunday and taking out Patrick Horgan, the average age of the Cork team was less than 23.
Not that we are suggesting there are shades of 1999, certainly not when Limerick remain in their pomp, but it would be difficult to quantify the belief that finish gave those young men.
In agreeing to a three-year term, one more than his first spell in charge, Kieran Kingston realised it would take that long for the maturation of the group.
Cork can’t be said to be behind or ahead of schedule but when Kingston is using Shane Barrett and Alan Connolly as sparingly as he has, it’s clearly not all about the here and now for him. Both players are as precocious as Barrett’s Blarney club-mate Mark Coleman and Darragh Fitzgibbon were when they were thrown in at the deep end in 2017, Coleman debuting as a 19-year-old and Fitzgibbon having just gone 20. But the approach being taken now is one of “all in good time”.
Kingston said on Saturday: “We have to be careful how we integrate lads. If you look around the country there are not a lot of U20s playing so we have to be careful how we introduce them so they will become permanent fixtures for the next decade for Cork hurling.”
To get their taste of senior hurling, both Barrett and Connolly have had to give up U20 for the time being but their influence in Saturday’s win over Clare justified Kingston’s decision.