Leinster star James Ryan following a trail blazed by young Dublin stars

Con O'Callaghan: Dub tyro lifted Division 1 title and All-Ireland club title in eight days

John Fogarty, Eoghan Cormican and Michael Moynihan discuss the weekend’s talking points

Winning streak

For all the talk about Leinster and Ireland rugby player James Ryan’s flawless record as a senior professional athlete, it is still in its infancy. Brian Fenton, remember, has only lost two games — Kerry last year and Monaghan the weekend before last, both in the league — and won all but one of the competitions he has entered. The Raheny man is now in his third season as a Dublin footballer. Then there is Con O’Callaghan who yesterday nonchalantly added a Division 1 title eight days after his second All-Ireland Club SHC win with Cuala. Bear in mind what O’Callaghan achieved last year in claiming All-Ireland, Dublin, and Leinster Club hurling honours alongside Leinster and All-Ireland inter-county titles, as well as young footballer of the year and All-Star accolades.

Success follows all three but Fenton and O’Callaghan are further down the road than their fellow Dub.

John Fogarty

Roscommon rebirth

We said it after Roscommon’s win over Cork the weekend before last and we’ve been left with no option but to touch on it again here given the impact Roscommon enjoyed off the bench; the layer of depth that has been added to Kevin McStay’s panel by players who have returned to the fold after missing 2017 has considerably strengthened their hand. The Roscommon subs contributed 2-4 against Cavan, with Cathal Cregg’s two goals effectively deciding the outcome.

Cregg started only one game for Roscommon this spring and despite his 2-1 contribution, it is conceivable he will continue to be used in the role of impact sub through the summer. Enda Smith and Niall Daly have also been used off the bench in their last two games. Fintan Cregg, Ian Kilbride and Niall McInerney were others who didn’t start yesterday.

Roscommon’s goal is to make the Super 8s. If they do, this is the kind of depth they’ll require if they’re to make an impression at that stage of summer.

Eoghan Cormican

Rules and regulations

The Maher brothers were at the heart of Tipperary’s nail-biting win over Limerick that started in the evening and finished at night, and they also provided two major discussion points.

Should points converted from the sideline be worth two points? Admiring Ronan Maher’s one from 70 metres out (yes, it was from the centre of the field but consider the angle too), some would agree. It was one of two for Maher and Gearóid Hegarty obliged with a cut for Limerick but these efforts, as skilful as they are, are uncontested, unchallenged scores. Where a free is a free, nobody should be punished on the double for being the last person to touch the ball before it goes out over the sideline.

Tipperary captain Pádraic Maher was yellow carded in normal time as he was in extra-time though he was not sent off because the two additional 10-minute periods is considered a new game. Yet that doesn’t extend to the black card in Gaelic football or the red card in both codes. As the GAA reviews the rulebook in the coming years, consistency has to be prioritised.

John Fogarty

Classifying a classic

After Saturday night’s entertainment in Thurles, and its ready anointment as a classic, should we have Baseball Hall of Fame-type rules for such deliberations?

If you’re not familiar with same, a player must be retired for five years before being immortalised in the hall of fame.

Should we have similar rules for games? In the immediate aftermath of Saturday night’s game, for instance, should we have a cooling-off period — say 12 months — to deliberate on whether a game is a stone-cold solid classic?

Granted, that means someone has to set themselves up as the arbiters of what makes a classic, and that can lead in turn to all sorts of unpleasant accusations and counter-accusations, but just because a game goes to extra time, does that guarantee it immortal status?

Michael Moynihan


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