EARLY on Sunday, the question dropped into my mentions on Twitter.
Glanworth GAA had sent a tweet, outlining the 183km journey ahead for their county FL Division 3 clash with Castletownbere, in Cahermore. It was estimated to take two hours and 39 minutes by car (Google reckoned it to be a nine-hour cycle and a day-long hike).
Glanworth player, Mikie Sheehan, asked if it was the longest trip in the country for a league game?
Initially, our smart-arsery rose to the fore by pointing out that Cork were en route to Down for a national league tie and that was longer, but, in terms of intra-county games, it was a valid question and worthy of retweeting.
Adrigole and Youghal have met quite a lot in the IFC in recent years and they will clash in Division 5 of the league this year. However, while it’s a mammoth journey — 159km, or and two hours and 16 minutes — it’s slightly shorter than Glanworth-Castletownbere. It’s hard to envisage another county having such a geographical spread between two teams.
Shaun Cronin, of Paddy Power, a native of Shanballymore, then asked a related question: was there any game, between two teams in the same division, which involved a longer journey than the 67km, and 68 minutes, as between Avondhu duo, Araglen and Milford?
Our instinct was Grenagh and Naomh Abán, both in Muskerry, but that’s slightly shorter, at 53km and an hour’s driving. However, Gearóid McCarthy blew everyone else out of the water: Bandon are the most easterly club in the Carbery division and if they are away to Goleen, it means a journey of 83km, lasting an hour and 24 minutes. We’ll consider that the gold standard, unless anybody else has any suggestions?
Regular readers will know that we never miss an opportunity to discuss the sartorial side of Gaelic games, so we couldn’t allow Kerry’s clash with Mayo, on Saturday night, to pass without comment.
The Connacht side set the ball rolling three years ago, in terms of pushing the envelope with change jerseys, having gone for black trimmed with lime-green. Their current alternative jersey is black with a slightly more traditional red, and now Kerry have gone off the beaten track, too.
Historically, the Kingdom always went for the blue of Munster, when colour-clashes arose against the likes of Mayo, Offaly, and Meath. The 2001 All-Ireland semi-final against the latter was a notable departure, as they opted for white jerseys, but because of the heavy beating they got, the look was never going to be remembered too fondly.
Blue was reinstated, but, for 2017, under the guidance of Paul Galvin, O’Neill’s have produced a gold jersey for Kerry — and not the gold from the hoop in their normal jersey, but the metallic gold of a box of Benson & Hedges.
Matched with black shorts and socks, it’s not our favorite GAA kit of all-time, but it may prove to be a grower. They do deserve credit for experimenting, though.
One small issue is that the goalkeeper jersey in the new set is black — while Kerry’s captain, Shane Murphy, wore it as he went up for the toss, he couldn’t wear it against Mayo’s black and wore the ‘normal’ gold jersey for the game, meaning all 15 Kerry players were in gold, albeit a different shade.
It was the second week in a row Murphy had to change, as the usual shirt would have clashed with Donegal in the opening league game. On that occasion, he wore a tracksuit top over it — surely, in this day and age, it’s possible for the manufacturers to provide spare goalkeeper tops in alternative colours?
Finally, this week, two more examples of umpire indecisiveness, both heard on C103 on Sunday. In the All-Ireland Club IHC final, between Kanturk and Ballyragget, Finbarr McCarthy lamented the fact that Hawkeye was called into action for a shot that clearly went over the middle of the bar, while in the Wexford-Cork game an umpire signalled a point, only for the referee to overrule him, and the situation was summed up well by match analyst, Tom Nott.
“That umpire is still asleep — he’d want to wake up, it’s gone two o’clock in the day.”