BEFORE I move on to the games this weekend, I have to mention that I met a few people from Cork who asked me why I have never written about Páirc Uí Chaoimh, the state of the pitch, and the cost overrun of the stadium.
Lots of Cork people seem to be so critical of late of what is going on down in the stadium. While I don’t have any great insights into the expenditure on the stadium, I know that anyone who ever dealt with builders, on any scale, seldom pay the projected figure — extras appear out of nowhere and can be very costly.
Ask Mr Harris and the new Children’s Hospital.
Maybe they might leave the Cork situation alone — this is a fantastic stadium, and ever before it was built, the old stadium to me was always one of the best venues in the country, for players, mentors, and supporters — it had a unique atmosphere that no other stadium matched.
It still retains that atmosphere on big days. The only thing I ever saw wrong was getting in and out of the place with traffic congestion.
Time for people to stop the negativity as I for one always look forward to going to matches there, and will continue to do so, with that special view of the River Lee and Montenotte.
As for the pitch, it always had problems, not just now, and it seems to be getting worse.
Remember it is built beside a river and in wet conditions, it can cut up very badly, and it does not make sense to play two matches on the same day, especially when one is a football match, as football would plough up most fields.
But I’m sure, like the stadium itself, they will get the pitch right as well, for everyone to enjoy.
Anyway, we don’t have to worry about it this weekend, as Clare and Cork are playing in Páirc Uí Rinn, another great ground.
But look what’s happening here on Saturday: The Harty Cup final for colleges, an all-Cork affair, and the B competition, also an all-Cork affair, and then later Clare vs Cork — that’s three games on this sod.
Hope the weather holds up!
A bit unfair on supporters wishing to see all these games (and there are many who would like to do that), but they have to pay twice to do so — what a ridiculous situation. It’s costly enough, and don’t give me that they are two different organisations — ie colleges GAA and Croke Park — for God’s sake it’s all hurling they are playing!
Will someone have a bit of common sense and let the one entry fee cover all three games? Surely that could be worked out.
This is the third round of the league — interesting to see what teams Clare and Cork will put out.
Cork are playing their second home game and would want to be making shapes and getting near enough their strongest team on the field, apart perhaps from their Fitzgibbon Cup players.
I think they will be near enough at full strength.
They will need their leader back, Seamus Harnedy. I’m sure they would like to get some game time into him, as he is their most important player.
I also think Alan Cadogan will start this game, as he would need to since he has been out of hurling a while now. A test against his old rival Jack Browne would do him no harm. It should be a good contest, as should the Aidan Walsh/David McInerney clash — a good test for Walsh.
I expect Conor Lehane to start for Cork — another player that needs to get his form back — should be a good test for the Clare defence against these forwards, but the one man I’m looking forward to seeing for Cork is Tim O’Mahony. How would he cope with a player like Podge Collins and his movement?
O’Mahony has done well to date, but he is meeting a different type of player here — and then Clare could move Tony Kelly to this position — so O’Mahony could be very active on Saturday night.
Clare need to find out about some of their players too — guys like Colin Guilfoyle, Rory Hayes, and Diarmuid Ryan — management will know more about them after this game.
I believe Cork’s need is greater here — Clare always find it difficult to beat Cork, but definitely harder to beat them in their own back yard. Cork could just take it.
I’m really looking forward to this weekend, as after Cork, I’m off to Kilkenny on Sunday.
Limerick, with two wins out of two, are going pretty well, but are going to the Lions’ den on Sunday — or worse, the Cats’ den!
You can be sure they will get some welcome. Kilkenny like nothing better than beating the team at the top because they always believe that is where they should be themselves. They always want to be up there and that’s why they have been so successful.
This is a big challenge for them on Sunday. Limerick are a team playing with great confidence and the one outstanding thing about Limerick is that they play as a team all the time.
Actually, I would say they are the one team that mimics the Kilkenny work ethic, and they are getting their rewards for that.
I think Limerick will have too much power for Kilkenny, but I’d say this is a game Kilkenny have targeted so that is why I’m expecting this to be one of the best league games so far, and one I’m really looking forward to.
Wexford and Tipperary: Very interesting to see how Tipp react to their defeat from Limerick. They were very poor on the night and well beaten.
They seemed a bit heavy-legged as well. I’m sure Liam Sheedy won’t have them that way this Sunday against a Wexford team that had a good win against Cork.
Confidence will be fairly high after that — it’s a rare thing that Wexford beat Cork, and rarer still to beat them in Cork, and with Wexford interested in winning the league they will want to continue on winning ways. Should be another interesting game, maybe with Tipperary to swing it, and the hype might pick up again.