ON Sunday evening last, while passing through Clonakilty, an unscheduled encounter with a former sporting great from the town presented itself.
Despite the brevity of the meeting a number of sporting topics found their way on to the agenda.
Clonakilty’s below par performance in the county Gaelic football leagues, where they have yet to win a game.
Injuries, players with with Cork seniors and U20s were put forward as mitigating factors but a real fear now exists that a loss the next day out against Clyda could bring them to the spectre of relegation.
A tad worrying for a team that pushed St Finbarr's all the way in the county final a few months ago.
Gaelic football is big currency in this town.
The town soccer team also received mention as earlier in the afternoon, they had finally defeated their Beamish Cup (the blue riband soccer trophy in the west) nemesis, Dunmanway Town 3-2 in the semi final and in a few weeks, they will take on neighbours Lyre Rovers in the final.
However, in was a comment from the former great in relation to the previous night’s camogie league final that stuck a chord.
“They are lacking something, aren’t they?"
For those, who may not be familiar with the Croke Park happenings, early in the second half Amy O'Connor hit the net and Cork lead on a score line of 1-10 to 0-07.
However, from there to the last whistle, Galway out scored them 2-07 to 3 points.
Questioning of Cork hurling and football teams is very much part of the residents DNA, should the same level of forensic criticism be afforded the camogie and ladies football teams?
One statistic that emerged in the aftermath of this latest setback, was that, the defeat was fifth consecutive one in league and championship against Galway.
A pretty damning set of figures.
Akin to the Clon footballers league form, there are some factors to be taken into account.
It is expected that Orla Cronin and Hannah Looney will be back for the championship and that Fiona Keating whose first game back after injury was last Saturday’s encounter should benefit for a body of championship preparation.
In reality, Cork, Galway, Tipperary and Kilkenny are the only top contenders in the country and even then Tipperary are a bit behind the other three.
To be blunt, an All-Ireland victory will be the only outcome that will excite the markets.
So, the new era has arrived, our first experience of the split season with the All-Ireland finals scheduled for the 17th (hurling) and 24th (football) of July, is about to commence this weekend.
For some, the departure from September dates is a step too far.
The forces of tradition can interfere with the cerebral wiring.
Back a number of years ago, the Catholic Church introduced the practice of Saturday evening masses, some of the pilgrims refused to buy in, preferring instead to discommode themselves in terms of travel and unsuitable times to get their Sunday fix.
I can’t tell you, as who to will provide the temporary residences for Liam and Sam, but I can assure you that as the July deadlines come into focus, a number will take to various media outlets to point out the error of the GAA ways in deserting the September dates.
I will also tell you that these individuals concern for the club players would be on on par with what Putin would think.
The saying “that you can’t have your bread and eat” is all you have to remember.
Club players matter too.
As it is predominantly hurling that will provide the entertainment this weekend, what it is store as we travel the new summer months of April, May June and July.
The All-Ireland champions will come from the southern conference.
At a stretch, Leinster have three contenders, Galway, Kilkenny and take your pick from Dublin or Wexford and right now it appears that none of them will be sending their postal code to Liam’s house.
Munster, first question, after the provincial round-robin event, what three will qualify for the All-Ireland series?
We will go with the populace here and rule Clare and Tipperary out, apologies to our banner and premier county friends.
On Sunday, Munster will bring its offering to the stage with Tipperary and Waterford throwing in at 2pm and then the big one at 4pm when Limerick visit, the soon to be Ed Sheehan stadium and a meeting with Cork.
At 6pm it is possible that that championship could be over before it begins?
If the JP men produce another high quality performance and leave Cork struggling in their slipstream, it would probably mean another year of the rest endeavouring to be the best of the rest.
However, if Cork emerge on top, it’s all bets off and we could be treated to the best championship ever.
For quite a number of years, the term sweeper was applied to Gaelic football and not all references were complimentary.
Now, it appears that Sunday’s meeting could be termed the clash of the sweepers even though the pundits will endeavour not to use this soiled term.
Lying deep, operating between the full back and half back line and other terms of waffle endearment can be used but don’t use the dreaded term.
Well, it appears that Declan Hannon is the market leader in this area, one of the challenges for Cork is to locate somebody who will do like wise in red.
A few other sideshows that will attach.
Will the perceived notion of Limerick playing on the edge translate into card displays?
Will the Cian Lynch hand pass routine find favour with the officials?
Have Limerick personnel to replace Peter Casey and Seamus Flanagan?
Important questions, the answers may be the grain that will tilt the balance.
It is huge game, not alone for Cork and Limerick but for the others who may have Liam in their sights.
Enjoy this new summer!!