Paudie Palmer: Cork hurlers must and should win but footballers will lose

Rebel GAA is on a roll but the standard rises this weekend...
Paudie Palmer: Cork hurlers must and should win but footballers will lose

Shane Kingston of Cork in action against Jack Browne of Clare during the 2018 Munster hurling final. They do battle again on Saturday. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

AFTER last week’s column, I received an email from a lady expressing her disappointment that I hadn’t included the Munster championship victory by the Cork minor camogie team in the good news dispatch of victories by Cork teams over the previous number of days.

My deadline passed before the result was in. Thankfully, the achievement was chronicled by others from this parish.

Just for the record and up to last Sunday night, the number of Rebel wins in major championship matches across both codes and genders was nine in eight days.

Back to my female reader: They say that when you are explaining you are losing, so can we put a positive spin on it, and say that when they are complaining, they are reading?

Looking ahead to one of the biggest sporting weekends of the year, at least from a Cork perceptive, I must confess to having contrasting outlooks for both senior teams. In hurling, Cork play Clare in round two of the All-Ireland senior championship qualifiers on Saturday in the LIT Gaelic Grounds. In football, Cork play Kerry in the Munster senior final on Sunday at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney.

I’ll give it to you straight: The hurlers must and should win. The footballers can’t and won’t!

The Clare hurlers are in bonus territory and credit to the team management for getting them this far.

It is well beyond the scope of this column to be harbouring Banner concerns, but there is some serious evidence that issues exist in the county. But losing a Munster minor championship match by 40 points has to be a crystallisation moment.

BEACH BOOST

Mentioning that minor encounter, could the column put forward a new West Cork beach as a venue for team bonding, maybe even for a training session?

Last year, I followed the fortunes of Courcey Rovers on their way to winning their maiden county senior camogie championship. They placed huge value on their work at Garretstown, their local beach, as part of their preparation.

One beautiful Monday morning in early June, this scribbler was a visitor to the beach Not long after arrival, I spotted a group of young males heading towards the water.

A quick observation of their belongings — hurleys and gear bags sporting a few well-known club names — provided evidence of a young hurling army. It was the Cork minor hurling team and management.

I wasn’t able to ascertain if they possessed the skill set to end another one of those droughts — it being 20 years since an All-Ireland minor hurling title had landed into the territory. However, observing how the players and management interacted with each other and interacted with the few visitors who were present, it is fair to assume that their character development was at the higher end of the spectrum.

I would imagine that the Leeside legend that is Keith Ricken would greatly approve.

Cork manager Keith Ricken. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Cork manager Keith Ricken. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Of the nine victories mentioned earlier, I must confess that the Kerry one was a creation of beauty.

It will be a while before the GAA folk around these parts will tire of victories over Kerry. This was mighty. Thanks to all forms of media, including social, Keith’s after-match press conference reached out to the planet.

Even Simon Zebo professed that he would love to play under Ricken. The realisation of his dream may still be possible now he's back in Cork!

BANNER BATTLE

As regards the trip to Limerick on Saturday, one can’t underestimate the challenge facing the county hurlers. That said, I think that they have enough in their information systems to see this one through.

Also, one would have to think that the reservoirs of raw emotion that Brian Lohan had to call upon to get them over this version of Wexford should have them in deficit.

A good start is vital, but a good start after each restart is just as important.

From the beginning of this 2021 journey, Kieran Kingston and his team of advisors have gone with a number of young newcomers. That has to be a given on this occasion.

Now, that may not mean that they all have to be present for the throw-in, because the finishers are now as important as those on the starting 15.

Even though Tony Kelly was a rank-in-file soldier last day out, you do not want his admirers — and there are many — to be calling for an immediate All-Star to be sent to his home address on Saturday evening.

The saying that goals win matches may not have the credibility that it once had, but a few of these Cork lads are well capable of raising green flags in Limerick.

In relation to Sunday’s trip to Killarney, can we provide a wee bit on the mentality of some of the host punditry brigade?

They believe that rather than this year being about Dublin’s seventh, Kerry should be going for three in a row. They argue that the Dublin decline began in 2019 and Sam should have been on the train home when Dublin forced a replay.

2020: It’s better not to speak too much about it. There has not been a championship loss in Killarney since 1995. Honestly, do you think that they will lose this one?

Contact: paudie.palmer@ hotmail.com Twitter: @paudiep

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