We look at five talking points from Sunday’s GAA matches.
The penultimate round of the national football leagues took place on Sunday and we take a look at five of the main talking points from the day’s GAA action.
Kilkenny beat Wexford after seven attempts.
Brian Cody’s mantra as Kilkenny manager is simple: He wants to win every game. Kilkenny take the league seriously and are the only team to win their opening three league matches.
The Cats had a very poor record against Wexford with Davy Fitzgerald’s side were unbeaten in six matches against Kilkenny before Sunday. Yet, Cody’s team wasted no time ending their recent run of bad results and were leading by 14 points at half-time.
The Leinster champions held out for a 10-point win and will be pleased to have finally gotten one over their fierce rivals.
There were Covid issues in the Wexford squad in the last two weeks. So, they may not have prepared as well as they may have liked, but they will be bitterly disappointed with the manner of Sunday’s defeat, as they were second best throughout.
Kilkenny will finish top of their group if they win their final two games and could potentially play in a league final.
Likely to be league semi-finals with no finals.
One of the main talking points from Sunday’s GAA action is that the Gaelic football leagues this year are unlikely to be finished.
The finals are due to be played on the weekend of 19-20 June. However, if a team is playing in a championship game the following weekend, then there will be no league final.
Both Kerry and Donegal are playing in the football championship on the weekend of June 26-27, so they will not get to feature in a league final if they win their semis.
So, unless both Dublin and Tyrone win, we won’t have a league final. There definitely won’t be a division two or division four final, while a division three final won’t be possible if Limerick or Offaly win.
Therefore, in the lower divisions, the semi-finals are essentially promotion play-offs, but it seems pointless playing division one semi-finals if there will be no decider to follow.
Kerry and Dublin win again.
Dublin have been flawless since the action returned last October. They are unbeaten in 10 games and were pushed all the way against Galway on Sunday. Dublin had to be at their best to secure victory and show no signs of slowing down.
Kerry also emerged victorious against Roscommon. They were heavily criticised for their display against Cork in last year’s Munster Championship but Kerry have been consistent since Peter Keane was appointed and are definitely the main danger to Dublin’s throne.
Kerry will hope to beat Tyrone at home in the league semi-final despite having no final reward. They are reigning league champions and they have not lost a knock-out game against Tyrone in any competition since 2008.
A Dublin vs Kerry All-Ireland final would be great to see and a lot of GAA fans will be displeased that both won’t get to face off in a league final dress rehearsal.
Kildare have a huge opportunity to seal promotion.
On paper, Kildare have everything they could want. The Leinster side have all the best players in the county available for selection and a three-time All-Ireland winning manager Jack O’Connor.
O’Connor has had two near misses since being appointed, as they finished third in division two in 2020 avoiding promotion. Kildare then squandered a half-time lead against Meath in the Leinster semi-final.
They face Meath again in the promotion play-off. For teams like Kildare and Meath, the league is far more important than the championship. So, realistically Kildare will not be bothered if they lost to Meath in a Leinster semi-final later in the year, provided they seal promotion.
Kildare played excellently away to Laois on Sunday and won by 13 points. They also played very well in the opening round against Cork and lost narrowly to a decent Clare side in round two.
The game against Meath is one of their biggest matches in recent years and O’Connor will pray for a win.
Mickey Harte is one game away from Louth promotion.
When Mickey Harte was appointed manager of Louth in November, his primary target was to gain promotion out of division four.
Louth have put in three good performances in their three group games and played superbly in the second half against Sligo on Sunday, to come away with a comfortable win.
They now face a Carlow side who have won three of their last four games in the promotion play-off. Similar to Kildare, this will be seen as Louth’s All-Ireland final.
If they beat Carlow, then Louth won’t care about what happens against Offaly in the Leinster championship.
It was a very ambitious move bringing in Harte just weeks after his Tyrone departure and it is one game away from being proven very successful.