Q: When is a Cork win over Kerry not a false dawn?
A: It sounds like a tee-up for a punch-line, doesn’t it? But no football side in the last couple of seasons has undressed Kerry as unceremoniously as Cork have. Yes, the green and gold brings out the best on occasions from Cork, but those occasions are seldom at the business end of the season. The only way Brian Cuthbert and his players can convince themselves they’re ready to exorcise their Kingdom demons is to maintain the consistency they’ve show in the League all the way to a possibleMunster final in Killarney in July — and beyond.
Q: How much pressure is Davy Fitzgerald under?
A: Things aren’t always good when you win and bad when you lose.” Eamon O’Shea’s full-time words in Ennis warned against scribbling prescriptions while patients are still undergoing tests.
Spring stoicism is the prevailing mood after three rounds of hurling. Everywhere except Clare, who return to the sick bay with the chart at the end of the bed now reading no wins in seven.
It’s too soon for fever, 18 months on from glory, but temperatures are rising among the faithful, all the same.
Q: Are Kilkenny in a spot of bother?
A: Two defeats on the bounce is something Kilkenny have encountered before. It was only two years ago that they lost their opening couple of games before winning the next three round fixtures on their way to claiming a league title. Brian Cody has been experimenting a little of late too so that also has to be considered as well as the absence of the Ballyhale Shamrocks contingent and injuries to some key players. But there is a serious question to be asked of the depth in the panel after the glut of retirements before Christmas.
Q: Have Dublin learned how to cope with the blanket?
A: It appears that Dublin are still struggling to break down teams that defend in numbers. There’s no easy answer of course but a side feted for their attacking nous should be better. Their forward play was ponderous and laboured at times against Tyrone. Lateral movement is not much used when faced with a defensive screen. Jim Gavin pointed out that various teams have defended heavily against them this year and, aside from Donegal in Round 2, the Dubs haven’t coped so well.
So Dublin clearly have to adapt if they want to remain the team to beat this summer. More and more teams are likely to use the tactic to frustrate them.
Q: Can Tipperary’s footballers still gain promotion from Division 3?
A: Despite Saturday’s victory over Clare, it’s still a big ask. Next Sunday’s visit to Louth is a crunch tie but the last two fixtures, at home to basement boys Sligo and Wexford, are both winnable. Tipp are three points behind joint-leaders Armagh and Fermanagh and a draw between the top two on Saturday was probably the worst possible result from a Premier County perspective. Tipp potentially need either Armagh or Fermanagh to lose twice while also winning their own three remaining games.
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