Angry fans

‘Sunday Game’ pundits who call on refs to ‘let the game flow’ even when a foul has been committed… the Cork football and hurling panels and their recent performances… Managers of losing teams…the Munster Council for not allowing reduced student admission prices to stands at big matches … too many lopsided games in both the hurling and football championships … There’s no shortage of targets for the fans’ anger this week.

I AM NOT able for the disappointment of Limerick being beaten anymore. I hate losing. I really do! Just the whole horrible empty feeling. I looked forward to Sunday’s match for months and then

bang!! I stayed in on Saturday night and rented ‘No Country for Old Men" (which I enjoyed) and little did I know that it would be as good as it would get for me!

- Odysseus

AFR’s SHOUT: A sad case. Try Kevin Costner’s ‘Field of Dreams’ before the next game. It’ll really get you in the mood. Or ‘Dances with Wolves’, starring Brian Cody and the 2008 Kilkenny panel.

I FULLY AGREE with Tony Considine when he stated on yesterday’s ‘Examiner’ that the Munster Championship is dying on its feet. Maybe the novelty is wearing off seeing the same counties battling it out year after year, but I have my doubts. I believe the back door system has a lot to do with it. Over the years, once the draw for the Munster championship was made, people would plan ahead for that day in the knowledge that it might well be the only day out they would get. But the qualifiers changed all that. Now some of the greatest supporters in all the counties are not travelling to the earlier rounds.

For example, Clare v Waterford and Clare v Limerick. Next year the GAA will be 125 years in existence. Just for that year alone let’s forget about the Munster and Leinster Championships. Let’s have an open draw involving the five Munster and five Leinster counties plus Galway and Antrim. If Nickey Brennan and Central Council are worried about losing money they can have it played on a home and away basis.

- Rebels Abu

AFR’s SHOUT: If the Munster championship is dying on its feet where does that leave poor Leinster? Six feet under? Time to move on to an open draw in both hurling and football, with no back door. Only a trap door into exterior darkness for the defeated counties. Harsh, maybe. But it will concentrate minds again.

ANY good hurling team would have beaten Wexford easily on Sunday. We need a complete revamp of the team from management to players and let’s start playing our underage talent rather than having them sitting on the bench. I fear forWexford in the final. I suppose we’ll give Kilkenny their usual 30 minutes run for it and still end up getting hammered in the end.

- Faythe and Begob

AFR’s SHOUT: A Tick in the Book for not looking at Sunday this way: Wexford now have Leinster finalists in both hurling and football for the first time in more than fifty years. That’s a proud chievement! I admire counties likeWexford who keep both codes going to a high standard rather than just cynically concentrating on one to the exclusion of the other. Funny, how it often happens in counties whose names begin with a ‘K’. And we don’t mean ‘Kildare’.

Sligo were no test for the green and red of Mayo. The game underlined once again how the standard of football has fallen off in Connacht. Sligo and Roscommon are nowhere. Galway and Mayo are just average. Leitrim will feel aggrieved that they are not in the qualifiers as I'd rate them third best in the province at the moment.

- Kiltimagh Abú

AFR’s SHOUT: Leitrim were unlucky not to have been drawn against Sligo because, on Sunday’s form, they’d have beaten them. But isn’t it time to scrap a 5-county provincial championship that is increasingly just an annual ‘Round Robin’ between two or three counties and move instead to an open draw with the rest of the country?

I think it is time for Paddy Crozier to step down as Derry football boss. The disgrace of Saturday night was a massive let down for all genuine Derry fans. GAA managers at county level are not judged on League results. It’s the championship that counts and that’s three years in a row Derry have capitulated when it counts.

- Derry Beag

AFR’s SHOUT: A touch of the Justin McCarthy approach? The guy brings the county to a League title and then you dump him? Paddy Crozier got the job for three years. Why not give him that time before wielding the axe? Or at least wait and see how this season pans out. This idea of dropping the manager after the first set back is a recurring one in Derry football and partly explains why the county has taken so long to return to the top ranks of football.

THE BEST BIT of ‘The Sunday Game’ was the Aprés Match skit that was on just before it. They certainly got Spillane right down to a ‘tee’.

- The Communicator

AFR’s SHOUT: I thought the guy who played Pat in the sketch was even better than the original. In fact, I had to look carefully every few minutes to see which of them was really presenting the ‘Sunday Game’. Good to see RTÉ having the courage to satirise on of their own.

AM I THE only one who gets upset at ‘The Sunday Game’ pundits and the like calling for common sense refereeing? What they are basically saying is to ignore the rules and go with what they think is best. How would soccer worked if they ignored off sides because they wanted to let the game flow. It is up to the players to make the game flow. The referee does not have a quota of fouls he is allowed blow for and then he has to stop. If there is constant fouling there will be constant frees and it is not the referees fault.

- jjtem

AFR’s SHOUT: There’s a lot more media analysis now of refs than there used to be and – to be honest – some of them are not standing up too well to the extra scrutiny. Still, they have a very difficult job to do. If every one of them applied the rules strictly every game would be just stop / start from beginning to end. So, they apply some common sense but they don’t always make the right call. Hey, that’s life!

I WANT TO vent my frustration regarding the admission of students to games.At the Cork vs Limerick football match, my brother wanted to join me in the Mackey Stand for the game. He asked if there was a student turnstile and was told: ‘Sorry, but you can only get a student rate for the terrace today. If you wish to go into the stand, you must pay the full '25’. Was this a Munster Council decision, or some local officials flexing their financial muscles? No turnstiles were available on the open stand side of the pitch either, where many supporters prefer to watch the game.

- Galbally Demon

AFR’S SHOUT: The GAA shouldn’t scrap the tradition of special concessionary rates for students and Old Age Pensioners even at major games. It sounds like some ‘ofeeeeshal’ was out to maximise the revenue from bums on seats at the Limerick game. However, a Tick in the Book for not solving the problem by giving the kid brother the "25 and letting him wash your SUV in return?

DEPENDING ON THE draw, Cork could well be contenders again in hurling by August. You wonder though, if the players might have been better off attending training rather than strike meetings last Spring?

- Ballincollig Baby

AFR’s SHOUT: I’ve no doubt they would have been ... and the footballers too. Both panels will pay a price for the crazy start to 2008. I get the impression all is still not well between the hurling manager and his panel. On the other hand, the timing and quick conclusion of the Waterford push on Justin seems to have worked like a shot in the arm, if latest reports from the South East are to be believed.

WHILE WALKING in the hurling wilderness recently, my son asked,‘Why is this place so quiet?’. I replied that since the Déise departed it some years ago it had been this way. The standard of those left in the wilderness had declined to such an extent that Kerry were attending prayer meetings on a regular basis. Their prayers had finally been answered. They are no longer alone in the wilderness. The Déise are back and for probably much longer than the last time. They will be in their nineties when Waterford next contest a League Final or even a Munster Final. That means their grandchildren will remember them for the stupid men they must have been because of the action they took against the man who had actually led them from the wilderness. So, now that things are almost normal again in Munster, on behalf of the Wilderness Hurling Committee, to the Waterford senior hurlers and their future fans a resounding – ‘Welcome back!’.

- Barry Doyle

AFR’s SHOUT: Barry, thanks for that lyrical, almost Biblical, description of the poor Déise wandering in the wilderness. At least the lads and lassies who followed Moses around for forty years finally reached the Promised Land. Let’s hope it won’t take that long for the Tribe of the Déise.

I WANT TO suggest a new format for the championship. 16 teams in Sam and 16 in Tommy. However, while you can suggest the 8 provincial finalists as 8 of the 16 in Sam I am sure that the other 8 would cause controversy as their selection would have to be subjective. A very radical solution would be to use the 4 National league divisions as follows...GOES ON LIKE THIS FOR ABOUT TEN

PARAGRAPHS… I suppose this still doesn’t really solve the league problems but maybe the play-off format could be used for each cup but based on your selection criteria.

- Douglas Observer

AFR’s SHOUT: Thanks, DO, for penning no fewer than 1,600 words on ‘reform’ of the championship but you’re still getting a Red Card. If I published it all, there wouldn’t be room for anyone else’s comments this week! Your email is typical of the many schemes and stratagems people dream up to try to improve the championship and balance out the standards. But isn’t the solution staring us all

in the face? Scrap the lopsided provincial championships. Have an open draw for a 32-county knock out competition. No side doors or back doors. And the winners play five games to truly earn the title of All Ireland Champions.

Puck out

No doubt about this week’s winner of our ‘Comment of the Week’ and the fantastic His ‘n Hers t-shirts from our pals in His colourful description of the wandering Déise shows that if Barry Doyle ever gives up attending GAA matches he can use his undoubted writing skills to become Ireland’s next great novelist.

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