Galways stunning win is just what hurling needed
ISN’T sport wonderful and amazing? I know there are people in this world who have no interest whatsoever in sport and to be truthful, I find it hard to understand.
Sport gives us the full kaleidoscope of life in a nutshell. For instance, there we were making out way home from Limerick last Sunday following Cork’s mismatch against Clare, having travelled in the hope that Clare might perform some kind of miracle and because the footballers deserve our support as much as the hurlers.
It was depressing stuff as Clare were put to the sword by a competent, if far from brilliant, Cork side and as we faced into the journey home, we badly needed some pick-me-up following a waste of scarce financial resources.
The pick-up came on the radio as we listened to Galway demolishing Kilkenny in the Leinster final in Croke Park. What a marvellous boost for hurling and a real incentive for all underdogs.
Of course this was a once-off, Kilkenny caught on the hop, Galway fulfilling all their undoubted potential in one glorious hour. It was mighty stuff, and, apologies to all Kilkenny people living in West Cork, just what hurling needed in 2012.
Are Kilkenny on the slide and are Galway the new favourites for the Liam McCarthy Cup? Far from it.
When did Kilkenny last play two bad games back-to-back or when did Galway ever produce two superb performances in a row? What this game did prove is that no team is unbeatable, as Chelsea proved not too long ago against Barcelona, and Kilkenny now look more mortal. They can be matched and beaten with the right approach.
Have Cork hurlers got what it takes to do what Galway did? Club duty prevented us from attending the Cork v Offaly game on Saturday evening but by all accounts Cork were only very ordinary and even JBM admits that they are far from the potential champions they were supposed to be before Kilkenny hammered them in the league final.
This Cork side is too young, too inexperienced and much too loose in their hurling to win the All-Ireland this season. A win over Wexford this weekend would put them into the All-Ireland semi-final, probably against Kilkenny, and a good performance there is at much as we should expect this season.
Not so the footballers, rated by many as favourites to win the Sam Maguire Cup. They certainly can be as good as any team left in the competition but even a very limited Clare showed up weaknesses.
The Cork defence has only conceded two goals, one from play in the last 11 games, but how they have managed to keep their net intact against Kerry and Clare is little short of a mystery.
Clare should have scored at least three goals as they repeatedly cut open the back line in the second-half. Only some last-ditch defending, and poor finishing, saved Cork.
This defence certainly won’t win the All-Ireland and now the midfield is beginning to creak as well. We may have the best set of forwards, and sub forwards, in the country but defensive lapses will cost Counihan dearly before the year is out.
One thing I love about sport is how people’s views of things differ. As we listened to a report of the Cork v Clare game on the radio on the way home, the reporter, a well-known Cork man, named the best Cork players on the day and included was the name of corner-back Ray Carey.
My first thought was, what game had I just watched? Carey’s direct opponent scored 0-4 from play and apart from one great block-down, the Cork corner back was again roasted on the day.
As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but sometimes I wonder if I know anything about football and what constitutes a good display.
The car radio is surely one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century and also on the way home we learned of the defeat of Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final. No matter how a whole nation may wish for a victory, it doesn’t always happen and in this case class, again, told as it usually does.
Emigration is killing many clubs this summer and even strong urban clubs are struggling to put teams on the pitch. Two seasons ago Clon fielded three junior teams as well as a senior team but this season they are struggling to field one junior team.
Many players are just on working holidays abroad and will be home, hopefully later in the summer but the 60-day rule banning them from playing when they get back will have serious repercussions. In light of the present emigration problems and recession, maybe that rule should be put in abeyance for a while.
The draws for the SW junior championships were made last week and some of those games are down for decision this weekend.
The big attraction, apart from the Munster SHC final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, is the double junior A football bill in Clonakilty on Sunday. Bandon meet Kilbrittain at 5.30pm, and the town lads must be favoured there, while St Mary’s will be fancied to beat Barryroe in the second game at 6.45pm.
On this Friday night, Argideen Rangers should get the better of Carbery Rangers in Ballinascarthy, while Castlehaven, who looked very strong against Clon, should be too strong for St Colum’s, also on Friday evening in Dunmanway.
On Saturday evening in Drimoleague, Plunketts and Ilen should have a good battle, with the Ahiohill men fancied to advance.
There are two other games on Sunday at 2pm. A fancied Tadhg MacCárthaigh should get the better of Muintir Bháire in Bantry while Gabriel Rangers may be too strong for a young Ballinascarthy side in Leap.
The Kinetica junior A hurling championship is due to be resumed on the last weekend of July and first weekend of August.
In the fourth round champions, Plunkett’s face Bandon and Kilbrittain, who beat Rossa’s last weekend, play St Mary’s. The quarter-final ties are Dohenys v Kilbrittain/St Mary’s; Kilbree v Plunkett’s/Bandon; St James v Clonakilty and Mathúna’s v Ballinascarthy.
Best wishes this week to young Kilbree hurler, Michael Keohane, who broke his arm when playing with Carbery minor hurlers against Fermoy last weekend in the premier 2 county championship.
Carbery, in their first venture in this grade, did very well to draw with a strong Fermoy side at the end of normal time but lost in extra-time following some confusion over the score.
One wonders what could be achieved with a properly prepared Carbery team in this competition. Next year, maybe.
Slán go Fóill
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