MAYBE a few of us need to hand back the writing quills such were our wayward predictions about this year’s football championship.
Dublin are gone back. Donegal could take them in a semi-final. It’s Kerry’s to win, but they may need to be mindful of a resurgent Galway.
Whatever about the stars being aligned, the moon wasn’t that much off course either when it came to Sunday last. Mad doesn’t even come close.
When was the last time that a county was 10/1 on to win the Ulster football championship. Those of you who had Donegal on the docket will know what I am talking about.
By the way, Cavan were 9/1 before last Sunday’s throw-in and at halftime, you could have got them at 8/1. You are talking moon territory.
Around this time last year, when those with questionable eating habits out in Wuhan set in motion several sequence of events that caused many of us all recalibrate our definition of mad.
No, I don’t want you to furnish me with a whole plethora of examples of events which can be categorised under the heading 'Did we ever think that we would see the day when...'
The scene from a hay shed on Sweeney’s farm Ballyporeen on Sunday night last did it for me where a group of Tipperary footballers gathered to drink lemonade and eat currant bread to acknowledge the presence of the Munster senior cup over in the corner.
At the risk of causing insult to Ronald Reagan’s relations, Sweeney Shed is the new calling card for this south Tipperary hamlet.
From the first to the last sounding, Tipperary were the better team in the indebted stadium. Wait until the stadium accounts Oct 31, 2019, and Oct 31, 2020, are released in a few weeks time, some of the critical words will be inserted faster the speed at which the sliotar traveled from Aidan Harte’s hurley to the back of the Tipperary net. Bar for a brief period, they led from pillar to post.
Of course, it was a most disappointing result for Cork, but it doesn’t mean that Project Cork Football has to be abandoned.
The damage done by years of neglect particularly at underage level will not be solved overnight and many would think that Sunday’s performance was more of an accurate reflection than the mad event of two weeks ago.
I noticed in the aftermath that Ronan McCarthy mentioned that he would wait a while prior to deciding if he would seek an extension to his present contract which is now completed.
Where one has to respect his position, I would suggest that the sooner the management team for 2021 is put in place, the better, a vacuum may not serve Cork football well.
But how could one not feel happy for Tipperary or to be a tad more precise for those from that county that promote Gaelic football?
At a guess, you wouldn’t need a huge extension to Sweeney’s shed to facilitate them all.
In 2016, Tipperary lost to Kerry in the Munster final, but a short qualifier route got them back on the horse to reach a semi meeting with Mayo.
They weren’t overawed and were it not for a rather fortuitous Paddy Durcan goal, they could have very well have made the final.
At the start of 2020, the situation looked bleak. From last year’s poor showing against Limerick, they were down eight. Paul Maher and John Meagher received a call from Liam Sheehy, the manager who was on famine ending mission! None of them made the matchday panel for last Saturday.
Josh Keane, who received a young player of the year nomination in 2016 and 2011 All-Ireland winning minor captain Liam McGrath headed for Australia. Shane O’Connell departed as they were expecting their second child.
Jimmy Feehan, Liam Casey, and Mickey Quinlivan decided to withdraw their services with the intention of travelling.
Feehan and Casey never got to leave, Mickey did, but Covid ensured that he returned. All three decided to rejoin the cause.
Another returnee was Colman Kennedy, who, on leaving UCC few years back, went to America on a soccer scholarship.
In the 2011 All-Ireland minor final he scored the goal that had a Dublin team, which included Ciarán Kilkenny, Jack McCaffrey Paul Mannion, and John Small among others on their knees.
He arrived back in 2019 and thankfully decided to become a Gaelic footballer again.
The final piece of the jigsaw was provided by Colin O’Riordan who, on arrival back on vacation from the AFL, joined the squad. Never missed a session, not only that, he slowly morphed into being an unofficial fourth selector. A leader off first and then on, he was mighty last Sunday.
When the gods, history, the moons, and the stars are on your side, well you are probably on your way.
Take a bow all you Tipp folk, who ensured that one day a real famine would end and for it to be celebrated in Sweeney’s farm shed in Ballyporeen made it all the more poignant.
In the 1920 Munster final, after defeating Kerry in Killarney, the team stopped off at a fair in Mallow and bought a pig. Maybe things were crazy back then too.
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