Wexford draw more than home comfort
Wexford roll on, extending Davy Fitzgerald’s unbeaten run in their home ground.
There has been a little grumbling about the fact Wexford have played so many of their big games in their home venue, building what cliche lovers like to call a ‘fortress’, with accompanying doubts about their ability to replicate those performances on the road.
That hardly matters.
The significant leap forward for Wexford has been the development of a winning mentality first and foremost: that can always be transposed to another venue.
It’s not even close to a chicken and egg scenario.
A team needs to learn how to win, to eke out the odd spluttering victory, and where best to do that than at home?
The loudness of the Wexford support — there were 7,200 of them in the ground on Saturday — obscures the fact the team are becoming harder and harder to beat all the time.
Clubs take centre stage in Kingdom
Éamonn Fitzmaurice was clear in declaring that next month will be one for the clubs in Kerry. While senior players will train with the county during the week, they will be available to their clubs at the weekends.
“There is a lot of club football coming up in Kerry. I know there is a share of giving out that April isn’t a club month; it is for us.
“The lads are going to be playing a minimum of three and possibly up to five championship games in the next couple of weeks so there is going to be a lot of club activity over the next while, which is great in terms of getting football into everyone in the squad and getting us in the position where we can polish up for the Munster championship.”
Kerry have had warm-weather training camps in April, before but not this time around, although Fitzmaurice could organise one for later in the year.
Dublin drop off top speed
What has become evident, not just at Croke Park yesterday but in the Dublin footballers’ league campaign to date, is the general lack of intensity that has permeated their play.
The running of the shoulder at pace and ability to punch holes in massed defences has been marked absent.
Keeping possession and being patient are admirable traits but if there is little end result as defined by scoring chances, then Dublin will need to rethink their approach with Galway on the agenda next Sunday.
Old heads come good for Mayo
In the end, it all came down to experience in Ballybofey.
That’s something that Donegal have shown themselves to be lacking on occasion this year, with a young panel of players available to Declan Bonner.
Mayo, on the other hand, used their mileage to see them over the line and that will certainly have pleased their army of travelling supporters and manager Stephen Rochford.
Rebels showing moreaway from Leeside
One of the main takeaways from Cork’s spring was how their performances on the road were substantially better than those they churned out at Páirc Uí Rinn and Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Of their six points, four were garnered on the road, against Down in Newry and Meath in Navan, while yesterday was another decent showing away from home.
Cork’s shallow support base might have something to do with their poor showings at home, but certainly they’ve made far more of an impression on the road.
It’s a significant turnaround from last spring where they managed just three points out of a possible eight away from home.
And it augurs well given the likelihood that they’ll be in Thurles on June 3 for their Munster semi-final.
Legend Ó Sé’s final ball
Tomás Ó Sé has kicked his last ball in anger. Writing in his Irish Independent column at the weekend, the Kerry legend assured us there won’t be life after 40 for him in a Nemo jersey following last week’s club final disappointment.
“When something like that happened in the past, I couldn’t wait to get back out on a football field to rinse the experience away,” Ó Sé wrote.
“But that option isn’t open to me now. The boots are put away.”
It might have been expected, but that won’t dull the loss for anyone who thrilled in those trademark surges from half-back duty.
League delivering drama
Have we almost put an end to ‘only the league’?
Alright, there was a suite of dead rubbers in the top tier yesterday.
But the one game with anything on it delivered high drama.
And while nobody quite matched the infectious revelry of last week’s ‘Carlow Rising’, there were great outpourings of emotion across the land as fortunes swung this way and that in the closing stages of yesterday’s games.
Cavan’s late rescue act in Breffni, Seamus Quigley’s boomer in Longford, Laois jubilation as the climb back up the order begins.
The reaction from all the grounds suggested players or punters aren’t waiting on summer to enjoy the spoils of victory.