Rebels’ Winning Look

Jimmy Barry Murphy, so calm and controlled in everything he does.

Jimmy Barry Murphy, so calm and controlled in everything he does.

The armchair sports fan was treated to a sumptuous feast over the weekend with live action from all over the globe.

In North Carolina, Germany’s Martin Kaymer eased to victory in the US Open, we had test rugby aplenty from the Southern Hemisphere and, of course, World Cup action from Brazil, with our neighbours from across the water going down to the Azzurri.

Despite the availability of all these top international sports being beamed into our homes our national games continue to enthrall and compete comfortably with any sport anywhere in the world.

With the advent of GAA on Sky and the availability of games on the internet we now not only receive various world sports into our homes but we too have the means in which we can export our national games like never before.

On Saturday night the Leinster champions Dublin got their campaign off to a winning start after a hard earned but well merited victory over Wexford in Wexford Park.

Twelve months ago it took Anthony Daly’s men two games to get past an improving purple and gold side.

The ability to convert your chances always seem the main difference between top tied teams and those a step below them.

Wexford are a competitive side and no team will look forward to taking them on in the qualifiers, especially on home soil.

That said, in order for Wexford to become successful as opposed to just competitive they will have to convert far more of the chances they are creating.

Conor McDonald and Liam Óg McGovern are two decent forwards for the yellow bellies but Liam Dunne could do with one or two extra scoring threats in order to take Wexford to the next level.

Dublin were good value for their five-point victory as they had an extra bit of quality from players like Liam Rushe, Conal Keaney and Alan McCrabbe.

Keaney from Ballyboden St Enda’s was certainly the man of the match here with five fine points from play and had a major influence on the Dubs victory.

Dublin now await the winners of this Sunday’s Kilkenny v Galway game in the Leinster Final and are now guaranteed at least an All-Ireland quarter final place.

A mention too to Sky’s coverage of hurling as both Rachel Wyse and Brian Carney are beginning to warm to the task and provide a nice contrast to Michael Lyster and Co.

It goes without saying that I never thought I’d see the day I’d be watching hurling on Sky Sports but so far so good and if it helps promote our games to an international audience all the better.

If we can watch sports like Basketball, Baseball, Australian Rules, American Football, Rugby and soccer from all over the world here then why not reciprocate by opening up Gaelic games to an international audience.

Cork and Clare’s rivalry of the past year may yet seem them clash ash again this summer.

Cork and Clare’s rivalry of the past year may yet seem them clash ash again this summer.

I’m not so sure how long we can hold onto our strictly amateur ethos or at least our very Irish version of amateurism in this increasingly commercialised world.

I notice in the US at the moment there is a court case where former amateur college basketball players are suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) over intellectual property rights as the NCAA currently refuse to pay anything to amateur college players while the NCAA make an estimated $4billion annually for licensed merchandise.

Amateur college players in American it seems want a share of the money pie. GAA players like Bernard Brogan, Shane O’Donnell etc all help to sell jerseys with various sponsors plastered on the front without any financial gain for themselves.

How long this will pertain for is anyone’s guess. GAA players currently appear to be against pay for play but if some form of financial gain were possible I’m sure it wouldn’t be refused either. Few star college players in the US make it to the big bucks in the professional game and are often just an injury away from a career end.

Are such players entitled to a share of the income they help generate? Well we’ll leave that decision to the US Federal courts but in a global environment contagion is never too far away and increased pressure is likely as we look to grow our games on an international stage.

Money was furthest from the thoughts of players taking the field in Semple Stadium last Sunday as more Corinthian instincts are prevalent in the Munster Hurling Championship.

This was our first glimpse of the reigning All-Ireland champions Clare and they looked a bit ring rusty.

The two Championship games Cork had in preparation for this tie had them perfectly primed to ambush the champions and no better team to accomplish this feat in Thurles than the Rebel county.

After all the brouhaha about the ‘Nash Rule’ and the ‘interpretation’ changes issued by Croke Park during the week, Patrick Horgan just went along unfussed and hit two frees to the back of the Clare net.

I just love the way Jimmy Barry Murphy goes about his business, calm and controlled.

Despite what seemed an attempt to curb the advantage Cork have with Anthony Nash’s unique skill, JBM when interviewed prior to last Sunday’s game just tossed away any such suggestions and took a very pragmatic approach.

I must admit I believed Cork over achieved last year but with the addition of Damien Cahalane, Mark Ellis, Aidan Walsh, Bill Cooper and Alan Cadagan they now have the look of champions about them.

Adding five new players, a third of the team, has improved them considerably and with the Munster final scheduled for Páirc Uí Chaoimh on July 13th (Waterford minors please note!) they are odds on favourites to take a provincial title.

While I hope Waterford minors will be making the trip to Cork for the Munster final I don’t look forward to another full house at the relic of a stadium that Pairc Uí Chaoimh is currently.

In my opinion it’s unfit to host such an occasion and until the planned redevelopment is complete there should be no games held there.

I have some great memories from playing in Páirc Uí Chaoimh but as a spectator it’s a third world stadium that the GAA will have a cheek to charge patrons €35 admission for substandard facilities while I’m amazed it passes health and safety requirements for a capacity crowd.

Like it or lump it, Cork it is then for the Munster final, despite my protestations I’m sure by July 13th I’ll have come round in time to support Waterford minors quest to win a provincial title, hopefully.

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