Anthony Daly almost outsmarted Brian Cody when he was in charge of Clare, Kilkenny needing a replay to overcome them in the 2004 All-Ireland quater-final after Alan Markham was deployed as an extra half-back in the drawn game.
Whether fearful of his players’ form in training and league/challenge matches, they conceded acres of space to the Kilkenny backs and they duly went to town on the capital, albeit with the luxury of getting most of their annual wides tally out of the way at once. Okay, so Kilkenny were searing hot favourites, but might the Dubs not have learned more about themselves by simply going mano-a-mano and seeing what happened? There’s too much ado about tactics all of a sudden. Whatever happened to fifteen against fifteen and may the best team win?
In Munster, Cork and Limerick was a car crash waiting to happen. Mercifully Denis Walsh’s men went easy on the Shannonsiders’ third-string, no doubt saving their best for Waterford on Sunday fortnight.
Justin McCarthy, a man Ken McGrath described as “great” once upon a time (and as a skills coach he was) is cutting an increasingly pathetic figure. His refusal to face the cameras afterwards, with a misfortunate player fulfilling the manager’s media duties instead, was shameful. And McCarthy is the one being paid. From self-styled messiah to megalomania in the space of a few sweet-to-sour seasons. Sad.
Preferring, I’m sure, to have been watching the cracking draw between his native Offaly and Galway, TV3 analyst Daithí Regan insisted that Croke Park can no longer stand idly by and watch one of its units make a mockery of hurling, and a sham of amateurism.
The County Board, he said, should be made watch the browbeaten Brian O’Sullivan’s post-match interview again and again until the penny drops as to what damage they’re doing with the consent of clubs: sending willing but ill-equipped young men onto the frontline to be slaughtered. Instead you’d Limerick chairman Liam Lenihan blaming the fans who stayed away for their lack of loyalty. Say what you like about the Waterford County Board (and many have of late) but they’d never vote to put our intermediates out against Cork in a senior provincial semi.
Later on ‘The Sunday Game’ Ger Loughnane called on President Christy Cooney and Director-General Pauric Duffy to immediately intervene in the Treaty saga before Justin gets an extension and next season is a write-off.
The question is why haven’t the GAA’s top brass gone in there before now? They can’t be afraid of JP, surely. The same goes for the Munster Council who’ve presided over two hurling semi-finals barely worthy of the name considering the crowds. Is it any wonder Waterford were trying to make €50,000 on the side when the competition is being effectively devalued?
Limerick’s plight isn’t about player power. It’s the abuse of power by non-players. The likes of poor Brian O’Sullivan are just pawns.