With the Premier League season coming to a dramatic end on Sunday, and the dramatic All-Ireland Football Championship having started last Sunday in New York, John Ivory looks at the Premier League equivalents of GAA Football teams.
Dublin – Manchester City
With the exception of Dublin having superior past success over City, these two are quite similar these days. First of all both teams wear sky blue. Manchester City shot to the top once money was injected into the club. They have a huge, star studded squad and are currently on the precipice of a second Premier League title in three years. Last September, Dublin captured their second All-Ireland in three years with their huge and vastly talented squad. They have unrivalled fire power and solid defences. Both benefit from intense competition for starting places, play excited football and are quickly becoming the powerhouses of their own sports.
Tyrone – Arsenal
Tyrone went through a period of success for about 10 years at the start of the 20th Century, much like the Gunners from North London. Tyrone secured their first ever All-Ireland in 2003 defeating neighbours Armagh in the Final. They then went on to win again in 2005 and 2008. Arsenal won 3 league titles from 1998 to 2004. Sometimes criticised by purists for their defensive style, Tyrone developed a way of playing that was controversial but effective, and Arsenal had such a miserly defence it inspired the comeback of the classic chant, ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’. Both successful, gone off the boil recently, but always dangerous.
Kerry – Manchester United
There’s only one team Kerry could be, and that is Manchester United. Over the last 20 years both have been the Kingpins of their codes. The men from the Kingdom of Kerry have captured six All-Ireland Championship in sixteen years, with the most recent coming in 2009. Manchester United have won 20 League titles, thirteen of which have come since 1992. Both have faltered a bit recently, however, the tradition of both Kerry and United is plain to see. An expansive style of attack is founded on a conveyor belt of top class marquee forwards, which had led to their most primary common denominator, success.
Mayo – Tottenham Hotspur
Both these sides are always the Bridesmaids, never the Bride. Mayo play a fluid style of attacking football, Tottenham are easy on the eye with slick passing and sumptuous finishes. However, despite all this, they can never conquer their respective Everests. Tottenham’s Holy Grail is 4th place and bar two years; one where they reached the Quarter final stage, and the other where Chelsea’s victory kept them out of the competition, they always manage to cough it up to Arsenal, on most occasions. Mayo have lost four All-Ireland Senior Football finals in the last 10 years. Their tale of woe has been well documented. There is no doubt that due to both sides’ ‘nearly-men’ tags, Mayo would most certainly be Tottenham.
London C.L.G. – Liverpool
A little more abstract but there are links. Last year, London surged to the Connaught Final only to lose to Mayo. This year in the Premier League Liverpool were the people’s champion after 35 games. Now that they seem destined to lose out on the title, many realise they’re not that bothered about ‘The Pool’. It will be extremely hard for London to mount the same challenge as last year, especially after a poor league campaign. While Liverpool have far more trophies than London, the same question stands, will they be able to hold onto key players and replicate this season’s form next year?
Cork – Chelsea
‘The Rebels’ and ‘The Pensioners’ have both been successful in recent times, especially in Munster and the Cups respectively. Cork won the All-Ireland in 2010 defeating Down and Chelsea have three Premier League titles since the first coming of Jose Mourinho in 2005. Chelsea and Cork have players in their ranks who are among the best in their codes. The main link between the two is that they may have under achieved, certainly in Corks case. Both are prone to slipping up domestically in games that they really shouldn’t and there is no question that the Cork side of the last 5 years should have won more honours.
John Ivory, Pundit Arena.