HOW do you compare standards from one era to the next, how would the teams of today compare with those of their predecessors?
That’s a question frequently posed among the GAA fraternity here on Leeside.
Take the Cork County SHC, we are now down to the last eight of the County Board’s flagship competition, a competition that once upon a time drew in supporters from other counties when the battles raged.
Back then the SHC was mostly the preserve of the city’s big three, the Barrs, the Glen and the Rockies.
They have taken the title 84 times between them with the rest having a combined total of 47. The best of the rest are Midleton with seven titles.
Of course, the first thing that must be said is that the game has changed so much from that era of dominance by the city clubs in terms of skill, speed, tactics, preparation and so many things more.
Ground hurling is much rarer now, there’s a far greater emphasis in moving the ball through the lines than leaving it rip up the field with one delivery.
An overhead pull is something rarely if ever you see nowadays. That’s the way it is and it’s hardly going to revert back.
The Cork County SHC certainly does not contain the ferociousness of the exchanges of the past and for one very good game you get four or five bad ones.
Much was expected from the two big games last weekend, Sars against Douglas and Midleton against the champions Imokilly.
Neither lived up to pre-match billing.
In the Douglas, Sars match the best bit of excitement was the nasty enough fracas that developed on the sideline containing both sets of mentors before half-time.
Neither goalkeeper, Alan Kennedy for Sars or Tom Delaney for Douglas had one shot to save and a green flag being raised never looked on.
Sars won the game by scoring just seven points from open play but to be fair some of the point-taking from the placed ball from Eoin O’Sullivan was exquisite.
And those frees had to be earned too and Sars deserved their victory and are now exactly where they want to be.
The Imokilly, Midleton encounter was disappointing too from a competitive angle although things did heat up when Midleton fired home four goals in a 10-minute, second-half spell.
But they simply had left themselves with just too much to do after trailing by 14 points before Midleton got those goals and the game as a contest prior to that was very lacklustre.
The point-taking from Imokilly was sublime at times and a return of 34 points in a senior championship match is some scoring Imokilly’s participation in the championship continues to draw debate as it does with the other divisions and the two colleges.
Imokilly more so now, of course, because of the success of the current team.
They are successful because they want to be and it might be the same with other divisional teams if they showed the same interest.
Because in every division there’s plenty of good hurlers, just as good as Imoikilly but the effort is not forthcoming anymore.
It used to be in Avondhu and Carbery but that was in the past.
We have now reached the last eight in the SHC and you could break it down into three categories, the more fancied, the lesser fancied and those that would not receive too many votes if a poll was conducted.
Imokilly, Sars and the Glen would fit into the more fancied category with Imokilly now obviously the clear favourites.
In the second category, you’d have the Barrs, Newtownshandrum and Bishopstown with Ballyhea and Carrigtwohill as the rank outsiders.
That’s not saying that they cannot win it and Carrig did do just that back in 2011.
However, it’s unlikely.
What we want most of all from the remaining games, the quarters, semis and the final itself is a few that will set the pulses racing all that bit more.
Many will tell you that a new name is required on the old trophy like it was when Newtown made the big breakthrough in 2000, Sars coming in from the cold in 2008 and the Glen’s great resurgence in 2015.
But right now it’s hard to look beyond Imokilly, the Glen or Sars but who knows and a few of our predictions up to now have gone a bit haywire.