LAST Sunday’s 14-point winning margin and a red card with the curtains down long before the end was how some expect the football final to go.
Red is not usually the colour of choice on the biggest ash day of the year, unless Cork are in town. The portents were probably hinting at a sending-off in the lead up to this greatest day of Irishness when a huge chunk of the fourth estate, not to mention the social media dwellers, appeared to be more concerned about the identity of the whistler for the five in a row coronation day on September 1.
Who, in all fairness, do those Kerry folk think that they are, questioning the appointment of a Dublin-based múinteóir to take charge of their imminent hammering in Croke Park?
Can you imagine, for one moment, if David Gough sent off Stephen O’Brien for attempting to poleaxe a Dublin defender?
Might be as well to perish that thought.
Prior to journeying any further, could I ask that some potential PhD student carry out a body of work on the nation’s reaction to the most famous, or infamous red card, aired during 2019? Was the overriding emotion on the red sighting, more or less, focused on apportioning blame to James Owens?
Those in charge of The Sunday Game, deserve more than a modicum of credit for inviting whistler Barry Kelly into the studio. In a cool, calm and collected manner, he presented the case for match officialdom and put an end to any amount of loose talk attached to the event.
Time and time again, we have heard calls for more co-operation between the referee and his fellow officials. Johnny Murphy was the linesman and on this occasion brought his opinion to bear.
Staying with card colour for the moment, one does wonder how long more will the hurling side of the house persist with the belief that there is no need for black cards in their game. This year’s championship provided us with enough examples of the existence of some from the cynical fouling menu. We await developments.
Now that we are in advice mode, we will address the senior parliamentarians in the camogie habitat.
On Saturday the televising of both semi-finals provided us with an opportunity to view the best four teams in the country.
Ok, the opening semi-final between Kilkenny and Tipperary was somewhat one-sided.
However, the second game, featuring three-in-a-row chasing Rebels against the maroon of Galway was a seriously entertaining affair, with the girls from the west just shading it in the end.
Now a little crib. Players being allowed to drop the hurley and palm the sliothar into a net does, in the opinion of most people, reduce the skill level required to raise a green flag. Maybe there is a very logical reason for allowing this method of scoring goals, but I fail to see it.
Advice section completed!
No sooner had the final whistle sounded on Sunday, when a number were shouting from the rooftops that it was a pity that the hurling season was over. Can we ask them a simple question? Have they not heard of happenings in clubland?
In Cork, the various club championships recommenced, just over two weeks ago. Back then, all 114 club teams that participate in the three main grades were still involved. As you read here, exactly 33% of them have been escorted off the stage, 24 in hurling and 14 in football.
As you are well aware, club championship 2019 is like no other around these parts when you factor in the scenario that for quite a number who do not reach the quarter-final, they will find themselves removed, in some instances, to a lower grade.
By the way, all this was done and dusted by the county board in conjunction with serious input from the clubs.
Already, as the realisation of the decision comes more into focus, a number of commentators have made critical soundings, in particular regarding last year’s two premier intermediate champions, Charleville and Fermoy.
At the start of the season, both were placed at the bottom of their respective senior table and the only way that they could play premier senior in 2020 is by reaching the quarter-final of this year’s championship.
Last Saturday night, Charleville and Glen Rovers provided those lucky enough to be present in Mallow with a massive degree of entertainment, far in excess of what Sunday’s showpiece had.
With the game on the home straight and the north Cork side leading by two and were not alone on their way to the quarter-finals, but they were also about to be issued with a membership card for the Super 12, who will play in next year’s premier senior championship.
Then two of Glen’s finishing unit ended the dream. Firstly, Simon Kennefick pointed and almost immediately Donal Cronin landed a priceless equaliser. It went to extra time and the favourites got over the line by one.
As mentioned earlier, it prompted a few to decry the unfairness of the new system. However, it may be worth remembering that had previous county board governments grasped the relegation issue earlier and not bowed to vested interest groups, this situation would not have arisen.
It might also be worth reminding you of what the ruling body in the Kingdom did to control the number of the senior species. In 2015, they relegated three teams and did not allow the intermediate champions the luxury of promotion.
Consider how St Mary’s from Cahirciveen felt, not only did they win the Kerry intermediate championship, they went on to add Munster and All-Ireland titles. Still not good enough for promotion.
To make matters worse, if you will, in the intermediate championship the following year, which did not have a backdoor escape clause, they lost their opening round to Ardfert. Tough love, but all for the greater good.
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