KIERAN SHANNON: Home comforts not just all in the mind

Last Monday, our new columnist Brian Gavin gave a vivid glimpse into the pressures championship hurling can place on a referee as well as touching upon an under-appreciated dynamic at play this summer.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Any county that thinks they can coast to Super 8s will sink without a trace

It’s not just the Munster hurling championship that’s making a big break from tradition this weekend.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Mayo will be determined to keep Galway in their place

‘Throughout the spring, June 13 had hibernated in my head… In the dressing room just before going out I spoke to the players in a group. That was something I never did. This game was different. I spoke from my heart about who we were and what we were about and what we were going to do when we went out the door, what we had to do.’ — Paul Galvin, In My Own Words: The Autobiography

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KIERAN SHANNON: The schedule may be a bit mad, but format is a crazy kind of good

We’re nearly there now, mercifully, writes Kieran Shannon.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Time for a new Munster champion. And soon after, a new system

Last July in Killarney, while we stood among the thousands in the Michael O’Connor Terrace looking out at both the majesty of the mountains in the distance and the depressing familiarity nearer by of two lop-sided Munster football finals, the thought occurred to us: This has been going for generations. Our grandfathers witnessed this and, if things don’t change, our grandkids could well be subjected to this.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Why is praise for Pep Guardiola in short supply?

Watching Didi Hamann and the RTÉ football panel in recent weeks question Pep Guardiola’s standing as a coach for remaining stuck on just the two Champions League titles in a career that’s barely a decade old, we were reminded of the opening scene in March to Madness, the esteemed John Feinstein’s season-long study of about the only championship in world team sport that’s as hard to win as football’s famous cup with the big ears.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Maybe Eamon Dunphy was right: Bring ‘coaching’ back to street trial and error

A sports conference in Cork last weekend was in effect validating Eamon Dunphy’s thesis about the merits of street football, writes Kieran Shannon

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KIERAN SHANNON: A hurling rivalry that keeps on delivering

Just when it seemed hurling was entering a post-Kilkenny-Tipp era, the first national final of the year is… Kilkenny-Tipp. It’s something to relish, writes Kieran Shannon.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Mayo’s approach lacking 2020 vision

Although it wasn’t widely identified as a trend — more reported as a series of unrelated events — an intriguing development in 2017 was the signing by the managers of the country’s top four football teams to stay on until 2020, writes Kieran Shannon.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Say it loud — I’m from Carlow and I’m proud

Turlough O’Brien wants to transform more than just the fortunes of the Carlow footballers — he wants to change the mindset of an entire county and how it views itself. And thanks to their onfield success, he is already making progress.

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KIERAN SHANNON: 2018 Grand Slam built on a culture of success instilled 18 years ago

While witnessing new rugby heroes lift and warm the hearts of the nation this chilly spring, we couldn’t but think of past ones and how this was their achievement too, writes  Kieran Shannon.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Championships are won every year. Slams aren’t.

In almost any other sport or competition, it would be anathema to a type of observer, especially Real Championship Man: The wretched dead rubber.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Limerick still paying high price after promotion ‘kick in the teeth’

It should go down as the Game That Never Was. As if no one ever paid or made their way through the turnstiles to watch it; as if no one ever played that Saturday evening; as if, for that moment in time, it didn’t seem to make the rest of the world fade into irrelevance, rather than the world soon after reducing that game to an irrelevance, writes Kieran Shannon.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Tralee captivated by resurgent Warrior spirit

In Tralee last Saturday night, all of the clichés that make up much of basketball’s great lure and lore applied. They were hanging from the rafters. The players could smell the popcorn. The place was hoppin’.

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