Armchair fans all set for a sporting feast on a packed St Patrick’s Day

Armchair fans all set for a sporting feast on a packed St Patrick’s Day
Adrian Cole of Cavan in action against Ruairí Deane of Cork. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

TV'S influence on modern sport is all pervasive. Last Friday night, for example, there were five live rugby games on the box.

TV3 broadcast the France-Italy Six Nations tie. RTÉ showed Ireland-Wales U20. TG4 had Leinster in the Pro 14, SKY, Munster in the same competition, and Scotland-England Women's Six Nations on another channel.

St Patrick's Day is going to be another armchair feast for those in charge of the remote control. And again tv's prints are all over the scheduling.

The GAA faced a dilemma because the showpiece of the club season, the All-Ireland football and hurling finals at Croke Park, is on the same day as the final series of games in the Six Nations.

Nemo Rangers' game against Corofin has been pencilled in for a 2pm start, followed by the hurling decider between the holders, Cuala from Dublin, and Na Piarsaigh from Limerick at 3.45.

The double-header clashes with the England-Ireland Six Nations game at Twickenham which has a 2.45pm start and that's an unfortunate position for sports' fans.

The GAA's difficulty was compounded by another station, eir, who are committed to showing the Cork-Clare Division 2 football game live from Páirc Uí Rinn at 7pm that evening.

Of course, their schedule was shaped a long time back, but at the same time someone should have jumped in to say there was a chance Nemo could be involved on Paddy's Day, too, and maybe there ought to be a change.

Switching the Cork-Clare game to Sunday was never going to be a runner because Clare are likely to be involved in the hurling league semi-finals that day and they were never going to wear their county teams playing in different venues at the same time.

There's a change in format to playing the football decider first as a curtain-raise to the hurling version.

Twelve months ago, the hurling final had a 3pm throw-in and was followed by the football decider, won by Dr Croke's, two hours later.

All four clubs involved are past champions. Nemo are bidding for a record eighth title while Corofin got their hands on the Andy Merrigan Cup first in 1998 and more recently in 2015.

Both Cuala and Na Piarsaigh know all about climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand to receive the Tommy Moore Cup. Cuala did it last season and Na Piarsaigh in 2016.

Meanwhile, Cork footballers are due to name their team, tonight, to play Meath in Navan on Sunday. As to who's going to make the starting line-up is anyone's guess given recent performances.

We put the poor second-half showing against bottom side, Louth, as just a drop in standards on the basis Cork were so far ahead and so much in control that the outcome was done and dusted well before the finish.

All associated with the team expected a major improvement against Cavan at Páirc Uí Chaoimh last Sunday, but, as we are well aware at this stage, Cork's form slipped even further.

Such was coach Ronan McCarthy's displeasure with the opening half display that he made four changes during the break and the alterations made some difference without ever making it uncomfortable for the table toppers.

The two forwards introduced, John O'Rourke and Stephen Sherlock, both contributed 0-2 apiece and looked lively enough to suggest they could be in front the start on this occasion.

At the other end, Jamie O'Sullivan and Micheál McSweeney tried hardest in defence and showed no reason why they shouldn't be retained at full-back and left corner-back respectively.

McCarthy admitted finding positives was difficult. He cited new keeper Anthony Casey as an exception.

“He did fine in a difficult game for a keeper, but there weren't too many after that,” he commented.

Management's offering will be watched with some interest, particularly in key positions like centre-back, midfield and centre-forward, though it's the overall approach which needs attention.

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