IT might be interpreted, by some as sour grapes, so I will begin by offering congratulations to Red Hand County.
The old neighbour Pat Spillane got himself in a spot of bother when he mentioned that there was an information vacuum in relation to Tyrone’s Covid concerns so we will park that as well.
In the lead-up to the game, I encountered quite a few from around these parts, who were hoping that Tyrone would be defeated because of their Covid approach.
I mistakenly took this scenario to mean that they would be supporting Kerry. Wrong with a capital W. No sooner had the final whistle sounded, the mention of Covid was viewed as being in a poor state.
On Sunday morning, I encountered a gentleman from Bandon whose approach demeanour resembled somebody who had just learned, that he was the sole winner of the euro millions jackpot. He then informed that when the aforementioned final whistle sounded, the crowd in the house next door went berserk!
Then the punch line, he said occupants are Polish...
Don’t tell me that they follow the northern county because of their love of the red flag or indeed the red hand. Every pundit that I listened to since appear to be falling over themselves in pointing out how poor the Kingdom were and conversely how wonderful the Ulster champions were.
I am not going to disagree but there was only a point in it.
Whatever about the Polish celebrating, some in the fourth estate didn’t delay in questioning Peter Keane’s suitability to continue in the post.
The Caherciveen native didn’t exactly endear himself to a number of the press corps in recent years, so it might be a case of what comes around goes around.
Some went so far as to put forward an alternative if Keane goes or is directed towards the exit. The arrangement could be described as going back for the future. Eamon Fitzmaurice (more or less dispensed with three years ago) and Donie Buckley, who comes with a serious coaching reputation and is currently on the Banty ticket in Monaghan, were mentioned.
The final spot on the three-man band was filled by Tomás O Sé. Indeed the Kerryman didn’t spare Peter Keane and co on Sunday when he more or less implied that they weren’t up to the mark. Ó Sé’s currently at the helm in Glanmire and living in Cork.
On Sunday, for the first time in a while, we visited the new stadium for the staging of the last act of championship 2020. It began 401 days previously on July 24, 2020, when Nemo scored three goals to defeat Valley Rovers 3-8 to 1-9. It ended on Sunday last when Nemo again scored three goals to take possession of Andy and in the process, inflicted a 3-7 to 0-13 defeat on the best of rest, Castlehaven.
Nothing spectacular but their ability to create goal-scoring chances is admirable. The routine usually involves harmless-looking possession which can involve numerous ball exchanges, then an overlap creation which usually involves a turn of speed which may be allied to brief defensive error, green flag-waving.
Now to championship 2021. The four main County Board football championships, the two senior and the two intermediates begin this weekend and from Friday evening to Sunday evening, a total of 26 games will be played.
For the purposes of understanding the championship structures, the premier senior, senior A and the premier intermediate each contain 12 teams divided up into three groups of four, while the intermediate A is made up of 16 teams divided into four groups of four. Over the next number of weeks, each team will get to play three championships matches.
Because of changes that were added last year, we can safely say that every game will be meaningful and indeed every score could be vital.
The opening game on Friday night will be a southside derby with Bishopstown and St Michael’s meeting in the senior A. It goes without saying that it is important for both but for the western side who lost all their games last year resulting in relegation, it will really significant.
What other aspects interest us? there are many. You may recall from last year, the dismal performance of the north city teams where there was only one victory from 12 outings and two sides were relegated. Hopefully, such a scenario will not reoccur this year.
Then you have the four promoted teams. Uibh Laoire from junior, Rockchapel from intermediate A, Knocknagree from premier intermediate and Éire Óg from senior A. The primary objective for all four is to retain their status which I would suggest, that they will.
What of last Sunday’s two curtain-closers? Castlehaven play the leading rural dual club, Newcestown in Clonakilty at 3pm on Saturday. The two have met a number of times in the past but on each major occasion, the Haven have emerged victorious.
At 5pm on the same afternoon, Nemo Rangers open their 2021 campaign, when take on Valley Rovers in Ballygarvan Don’t tell that they will score three goals again.
Most clubs have waited a long time, to sample championship action, whatever about the results, let us hope that the programme will be completed within the allocated time and that all teams will be able to fulfillil their fixtures. Let it begin.
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