THERE is a French phrase called “l’esprit d’escalier” which is used for replies thought of too late.
Essentially, it translates as “the staircase mind” – you pass someone in a hall and they say something but your response is sub-standard and then, as you reach the stairs, the perfect riposte comes to you but the other person is gone and you can’t really chase them.
Today’s suggestion is kind of an example in that it’s something we should have made before the commencement of the Cork county championships but didn’t anticipate it as an issue at the time. In addition, it’s an idea that is being made late but not yet too late.
Obviously, with the Covid-19 situation continuing to dictate almost every facet of our daily lives, it plays a big part in the administration of GAA games. As relayed here a couple of weeks ago, we have to apply for tickets well in advance of the championship matches and there are no programmes, so it’s like covering a schools game, getting the starting 15 from the teams directly.
Some clubs, with Aghabullogue establishing themselves as the market leader, have taken to posting starting lineups on Twitter, while Ballyhea’s teamsheet last Friday night helpfully included each player’s statistics for championship appearances and scores.
Unfortunately, other clubs’ social media presence on matchday has been non-existent, all the more disappointing given that fewer people are able to attend games, so more are in need of digital updates.
In between, there are many various levels in terms of quality of communication. In some cases, clubs have made the effort to publicise their line-up only for some of the numbers on the backs of the players not to match up with what is advertised.
It’s not always possible to discern such an error – it’s a bit easier in football, but sadly we’re unable to identify every single county championship player by sight – and if and when the error is repeated in the paper, the blame lies with the scribe. The worst example is when one of players incorrectly numbered gets the winning score of the game and the headline has the wrong name.
And so to the suggestion that we should have made in June: for this year, clubs should have used squad numbering for championship games. The benefits would actually be two-fold: primarily in that the lists could have been submitted to the county board before the commencement of action, centrally available on the board website; but also so that, from a Covid-prevention point of view, each jersey would only be worn by one player. Perhaps it’s something that could be looked at for the knockout stages?
Staying with outfitting and, by coincidence, both of the premier senior hurling championship games we attended over the weekend featured colour-clashes – Midleton v Ballyhea in Fermoy on Friday night and Blackrock v Newtownshandrum in Mallow on Sunday.
The battle of the Magpies saw Midleton in all-black with Ballyhea in all-white, an ideal solution in that each side was still in its club colours while providing clear differentiation. Unfortunately for the photographers, the ‘mature’ Midleton set of jerseys didn’t have front numbers, though, adding an extra layer of difficulty to the player identification stakes even if they had been given the right numbers.
We were going to say that’s not all that long ago that Blackrock and Newtown met in two consecutive county finals wearing their usual jerseys, but it’s almost decades ago. Nevertheless, the fact that they now change – Blackrock in dark green, Newtown in white – represents progress in ensuring that confusion is avoided.
Clubs having second sets of jerseys at senior level is par for the course at this stage but it was encouraging to see the same when two black-and-amber-striped clubs, Kilbrittain and Russell Rovers, met in the lower intermediate hurling on Sunday in Carrigaline, the West Cork side in black and their opponents in white.
It’s just over a decade since the clubs met in the county junior B football decider, when both donned divisional jerseys – Kilbrittain in Carbery’s purple and gold and Rovers wearing the Imokilly candystripes.
While the borrowing of divisional kit, or sourcing a set from a neighbouring club, was often necessary in the past, the visual was often jarring and a proper backup set looks much better.