WAS THERE any real doubt about Kilkenny, Wexford, Galway, Kerry, Cork and Armagh? Yawn...This backdoor is making it all unwatchable.
Some of the weekend games were either so one-sided or so lacking in skill that they’d make you despair. The safety net of the Qualifiers undoubtedly seems to have taken some of the intensity out of the hurling and football championships.
AN ABSOLUTELY atrocious game by Cork but it’s typical of them against mediocre sides like Limerick. In 2006, they had a poor display against Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds and then went on to win Munster against Kerry. The Cork backs were very indecisive at times and only had themselves to blame for some of the scores they conceded especially in the first half. In the final 20 minutes Limerick played some lovely football and it begs the question why they were so cynical for the previous 50.
CORK BROUGHT the GAA into disrepute more than any other county, team or person in the history of the GAA this last Spring. I've no time for Paul Galvin but Cork people having a go with regard to him bringing the game into disrepute are laughable.
Whatever about Cork in Munster football, Euro 2008 is going well for Holland. After dumping Holland a few months ago, could that be a bad omen for the Rebel footballers? I think it's time our GAA pundits got off Kerry's back as regards saying that ‘Their fans don't go to support them, until Croke Park is in sight’. As a Kerryman, I must say that this statement was true in the past, but after today's attendance in Killarney, it is untrue, considering they were playing a not-so-promising Clare side.
Sorry, Iggy, one reasonable attendance at a game on your doorstep in Killarney is not enough to live that one down.
I THINK PAUL Galvin is a fantastic footballer and I love his attitude. He nearly always chips in with a point or two. He’s a tireless worker, never beaten, plays to the edge of the rules and goes over the edge on the odd occasion. There probably has never been an All Ireland winner without a ‘Paul Galvin’ type person on the team. Every county in Ireland would love to have him.
I LOVE watching Paul Galvin. He goes over the line sometimes but great players often do. That he is not generally liked elsewhere is the biggest compliment you can give a player. He takes it and he dishes it out too. No problem in my book.
Paul is one of those larger-thanlife players who seems to polarise opinion sharply – his own county love him, the other thirty-one … well, no so much. He is a very committed player and that sometimes leads him into trouble. However, the game would be poorer without the likes of Galvin.
I AM REALLY disappointed with Dublin against Wexford. Their wides tally was a disgrace and they only have themselves to blame. They should have beaten Wexford by 6 or 7 points.
NINETEEN WIDES from the Dubs and Wexford might as well have won it with a free in injury time. No doubt, the Dubs have talent but they seemed to make bad choices throughout. Still it’s all to play for, although Wexford will surely improve.
TO ME DUBLIN look like typical city hurlers, lovely skill and high fitness levels and self belief but instincts are simply not there. Maybe it’s just inexperience, and I really hope so, but a hammering by Kilkenny could be a serious set back for Dublin and hurling in general.
Some of our greatest hurling stars came from ‘city’ clubs like Glen Rovers in Cork, Vincents in Dublin and Mount Sion in Waterford, so I don’t quite follow your point. I hope Dublin get past Wexford to face Kilkenny in the Leinster Final because of the resultant publicity for hurling in the greater Dublin area. However, the Leinster games we’ve seen so far suggest Kilkenny would beat the ‘pick’ of Dublin, Wexford and Offaly. This charade can’t go on.
I AM A huge fan of Eoin Kelly and as a Limerick man that is high praise. When he does his magic you can’t help but admire his skill levels. But he fouls the ball every time he takes a free. However, I honestly don’t think it gives him an advantage. He has a lot of 21 yard frees and penalties saved. The reason for this is because he balances the ball on the stick and keepers have that split second to adjust.
Why is he doing it if it doesn’t give him an advantage? Like Kelly, the great DJ himself was often accused of the same thing and of taking extra steps before scoring goals as well. Even going back to Ring’s time, free takers will always try something to give themselves a little advantage and it’s hard to fault them for that.
GENUINE FANS of county teams are in the minority. Hurling has become cool lately, and successful county teams are followed, mostly by people who haven't a clue. The amount of Waterford people I see in Thurles or Croke Park who've never been to their own club games is amazing. I presume it's the same for other counties. The bigger the crowds, the higher the concentration of bandwagon boys and girls. Waterford and Cork played each other to almost full houses three times last year. In the 1989 Munster semi final, 15,000 turned up in Semple. Are all the newcomers informed hurling people? I think not.
I’m afraid I can’t accept a distinction between a hard core of ‘genuine’ hurling fans who cycle to venues wearing bicycle clips, belted overcoats and caps, their ‘hang sangwidges’ wrapped in tin foil on the carrier and a lemonade bottle full of ‘tay’ strapped to the handlebars. And all the time muttering to anyone who’ll listen about ‘What really happened in the replay of ‘38’. Face it. In modern sport successful teams attract thousands of extra fans. That’s what success means. Let’s enjoy them before they move on to beach volley ball.
I DON’T KNOW how to fix the Championship but I know it’s broken. The first step is for everyone to admit we have a problem, rather than as is now with some people going around with their heads in the sky talking about what a great set up we have. Let’s scrap the outdated provincial system completely, though the danger is we will have lost the Munster championship and gained nothing. I think the safest thing to do is scrap the Ulster and Connacht series and place the good enough teams from these provinces into Munster or Leinster.
ONE OF THE biggest let downs for me of the hurling championship is that we will probably see one of the great teams of all time, Kilkenny, in full flow only two times this year. That can’t be healthy. I’m originally from a football county that will never compete at the top level in hurling but I’ve always loved hurling over any other game. I think it is a big pity that hurling produces such few mouth-watering matches a year. Having Kilkenny practically out of the championship until August does not help to market the games.
There must come a time – even for the most diehard Kilkenny fans – when strolling through Leinster, brushing another county aside in a semi-final and having to really play for only the first forty minutes of a final must begin to pale. What is the satisfaction in that for anyone? If there was a 32-county knockout championship I believe the standard would start to even out and at least it would five games to earn the title of champions.
THE GAA WILL have to find some system whereby entry to the championship is based on your league standing. 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….. continues for another 1,400 words with a very detailed, complicated proposal ……
Thanks, DO, for going to such trouble. I couldn’t reproduce the full 1,600 words of your proposals, because there wouldn’t be room for anyone else’s opinion this week!. Your email is typical of a number that we receive throughout the season. Why have I given a Red Card to such a diligent fan? Because it’s time we all stopped tinkering with complicated back doors and front doors and the devil knows what else. The medium to long term solution might take a few years to bed in, but it’s staring us all in the face. A thirty-county knockout competition and the winners really earn the title of ‘All Ireland’ champs.
GERALD McCARTHY has failed for the third time in a row, making the same mistake each time of taking Timmy Mac off and whipping off almost the entire forward line in a short space of time. Gerald and his team should reassess their own performance first and then the players. The six forwards that started against Tipp never played a match together before the game. Only two finished. He should pick his team for the next match now and play Cork U 21 and other matches with few changes. Give Timmy Mac no 11 and leave him there. They should look at the full back position as there seems to be a problem there. Have a good plan B.
We’ll see. I’m always doubtful when a team’s poor performance or a championship defeat is ascribed solely to a Manager’s failings. Especially one of Gerald McCarthy’s experience. A Manager can do so much. Once the players cross the white line wearing Cork’s famed red jersey, it’s up to them to perform.
ALTHOUGH we gave him our only Red Card of the week – because we’re fed up to the back teeth of endless complicated proposals to ‘reform’ the championships – we’re also giving our prize forto Douglas Observer for the sheer stamina and commitment it too to pen 1,600 words of an email on the topic. CATCH UP with more great conversation and craic on ‘An Fear Rua – The GAA Unplugged!’ at www.anfearrua.com
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