Sky’s first G.A.A report
As the summer draws closer Sky covering G.A.A is becoming a reality and we got our first glimpse of G.A.A on Sky Sports News last weekend as they reported on Mayo and New York’s Connacht championship opener. It was entertaining to say the least as they showed a complete lack of knowledge for the game and the players with pronunciations such as ‘Canot’, ‘Laytrim’ and ‘Sylian O’Connor’. There should be some more hilarious errors as the championship begins.
The potential analysts for G.A.A on Sky were also mentioned this week. It was reported that Kerry’s Paul Galvin and Tyrone’s Peter Canavan are being touted as the main football pundits. A man who would be known to both British and Irish people, Niall Quinn, was being favoured to be one of the leading figures which would make sense as he already works for Sky and played minor hurling for Dublin. Certain people in G.A.A will be only chomping at the bit to boost their profiles through Sky and it will be interesting to see who signs up. It will also be fascinating to see how this coverage deal works out.
Another title for Dublin
I feel like a broken record at this stage but the force that Dublin seem to be creating in football is a real force to be reckoned with. There just seems to be a conveyor belt coming through with huge swagger, confidence and momentum. They look very hard to stop on all fronts. The under-21 final was just another indication of their strength in football at this very moment. They simply outplayed a Roscommon side who fancied their chances.
With only a quarter of an hour to go Dublin led on a score of 1-15 to 0-01. Roscommon did manage three consolation goals to put some respectability on the final score but there was only one team winning the game. Their attacking play is breath-taking. The way in which they cut defences open and score a variety of scores from all angles in just a joy to watch. Conor McHugh, Cormac Costello and Paul Mannion were just three who impressed and expect to be featuring in Croke Park soon.
Still nothing between Kilkenny and Tipperary
It was a great contest between Kilkenny and Tipperary in the National Hurling league final but it wasn’t one of the classic encounters that we have witnessed over the last five years. It was a tight affair and tense viewing for both neutrals and supporters. We saw a lot of what has to become expected of games between these two sides. Both teams are desperate to win against their age old rivals. Kilkenny came out on top last Sunday but it won’t have a huge bearing on the championship. Last year saw both sides provide a similar encounter in the league final and go onto have a poor summer.
Kilkenny showed character to win but they still looked like a bit of a tired team. There wasn’t the same pace or intensity to their play and I would go as far to say that I think Tipperary could possibly be in a better position heading into the championship. Padraic Maher looked to finally be close to his best form, Brendan Maher was outstanding, Patrick Maher and John O’Dwyer are playing well and there are good newcomers in Cathal Barrett and James Barry. It goes without saying that the championship is the main aim for both counties but last Sunday showed that games between the two will always be tough.
New York still out of their depth as Provincial Championships begin
It seemed to be the strongest side they had for a while and there was a lot of coverage given to last weekend’s game with Mayo but the result shows that New York are still out of their depth against the top teams. London bucked the trend last year but the distance is completely insurmountable for the Yanks. They had big names like Brendan Quigley, Denis O’Sullivan and Ross Wherity in their side but it did not matter. It gives a county a chance to travel but the sense to their involvement in questionable.
Other provincial championships began last weekend in the form of the Leinster Hurling Championship. The round robin series between Antrim, Carlow, Westmeath, London and Laois has started to see which two teams qualify for the quarter-finals of the Leinster championship. Antrim have started well with two wins while Laois have also continued their good form this year with a win over Westmeath. The system is good but it is quite early in the year for teams to be playing such important games, but it’s still a good kick-start and should receive more coverage..
Injury doubts ahead of the summer
Now that we are counting down the championship, some news stories have broken on potential injury doubts as teams prepare for their opening rounds. In hurling, Dublin’s Danny Sutcliffe has emerged as a major doubt for their Leinster semi-final. He broke a bone in his hand and is in a race against time. Waterford were also dealt a blow with news that Phillip Mahony, Stephen Molumphy and Maurice Shanahan are all ruled out of their game with Cork. On a more positive note, Cork’s Paudie O’Sullivan made his return from a horrific leg break to give the Rebels a boost ahead of the championship.
In football, Kerry’s David Moran has received another injury setback. It really is a shame for all parties. Moran has been plagued by injuries and hasn’t featured prominently properly for Kerry for a number of years. Monaghan’s Conor McManus was another player to receive an injury set-back this week. It had been reported that he had followed Colm Cooper and tore his cruciate knee ligament, but now it is now that to be as serious. He is still a major doubt for the Ulster championship and maybe even the whole season.
Sean Cremin, Pundit Arena.