An intriguing weekend of GAA action across both codes. Munster Hurling again failed to ignite and was completely overshadowed by Galway and Kilkenny’s game for the ages in Leinster.
Cavan ended an 18-year barren run by reaching the Ulster final following a classic encounter with Armagh while Donegal flipped the script to down Tyrone and qualify alongside them.
Meanwhile, Dublin unexpectedly qualified for a Leinster final where old rivals, Meath, await them
Here is our stock watch following another week of GAA action.
Whose Stock Rose?
What more can you say about Cavan and their manager, Mickey Graham? A first Ulster final in 18 years playing a brand of football that is very easy on the eye.
"I'm a wee bit shocked at the minute" – Cavan manager Mickey Graham pic.twitter.com/7rZvR94gVw
— BBC SPORT NI (@BBCSPORTNI) June 9, 2019
Cavan were unlucky to be relegated from Division 1 but they’ve come storming back in the Ulster SFC with wins over Monaghan and Armagh. Following on from his exploits with Mullinalaghta, Graham is fast becoming one of the soundest minds in the game.
The emotion with which he spoke immediately following their win also tugged on the heartstrings.
Most people were tipping Tyrone to overcome Donegal on Saturday evening but Declan Bonner’s men flipped the script totally to come away with a convincing four-point win to set-up an Ulster final date with Cavan.
Check out the best of the first-half action from Donegal v Tyrone here: pic.twitter.com/1kKoMZfCwy
— The GAA (@officialgaa) August 5, 2018
Donegal were brilliant from start to finish with Jamie Brennan, in particular, running Tyrone ragged during the first half. Barring a little wobble midway through their Division 2 campaign, Donegal have gotten better and better with each passing game and look to be peaking at the right time this year. The Ulster final won’t be the last we see of them.
About bloody time RTÉ paid some sort of recognition to the weaker hurling counties. Neil McManus’ presence on this weekend’s edition of The Sunday Game was long overdue. Articulate, intelligent, knows the game inside out and as Michael Duignan said on last week’s show, one of the best hurlers of the last 15 years.
Was damning yet on the money about Clare’s performance and where they stand in Munster’s pecking order and enlightened not only the viewers but clearly the panel of experts alongside him on the plight that hurling’s ‘weaker’ counties face.
'If I'm in Carlow today, I'm absolutely livid' – The panel of Neil McManus, Donal Óg Cusack, and Anthony Daly debate the Joe McDonagh Cup and whether the system helps teams improve pic.twitter.com/Qh38pBaVrj
— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) June 9, 2019
An excellent punditry debut.
Whose Stock Crashed?
There is no defence for what McCann did on Saturday evening and retrospective action should be taken. Word today is that he is set to face just a one-match ban, it should be at least three in my books.
The worst thing about McCann’s actions is that the events of ‘hairgate’ was five years ago now. Most had suppressed the memory of him flapping around after Darren Hughes ruffled his hair, however, this incident is now being dragged back into the spotlight as a stick to beat McCann’s character with.
No defence for what happened.
By the time Waterford hurlers take to the field in next year’s Championship, it will have surpassed two year’s since they won a championship match. On Saturday night they showed glimpses against Cork but ultimately they were miles off the pace and have exited the Championship with a whimper.
A shadow of the side that reached the 2017 All-Ireland final with some swashbuckling hurling. These lads are still young though, they will return.
Tactically, Tyrone were taken to the cleaners by Donegal on Saturday night. Second best in every line of the pitch and deservedly beaten. Unlike Mickey Harte to be tactically outclassed in that manner.
It should also be pointed out that Harte has yet to condemn McCann’s actions on Saturday and doesn’t seem likely to. I understand about keeping a united front as such but some things are indefensible and in some instances, it’s a manager’s job to come out and condemn actions such as these.