Sean Cremin is here with his weekly column on GAA Talking Points. Here are some of the stories that made the news this week.
Sean Cavanagh feels like Mario Balotelli
The clash between Tyrone and Monaghan was eagerly anticipated and it delivered in terms of being a tight contest. It was a one point victory for the Farney men who went a step closer to defending their Ulster football crown. The game was analysed and the referee was applauded for his use of the black card. One player came heavily into question after the game and that was Sean Cavanagh.
The Tyrone man was criticised for simulation or ‘buying a free’ as others may call it. It has been a trait of Cavanagh’s play, when he draws the opponents tackle and the pulls him to the ground by grabbing his opponents arm. The referees are continuing to fall for Cavanagh and he came under scrutiny again this week.
Cavanagh was quoted as saying.
“I’m beginning to feel a little bit like Mario Balotelli”.
The term cheating is being attributed to Cavanagh and his action but this was something that he categoricaaly denied this speaking at the Price Waterhouse Cooper GAA/GPA launch. Cavanagh said;
“I would never try to cheat to win a free” and “To read an assumption into that I was trying to cheat, it’s really disappointing because I don’t see myself as that type of player.”
His actions do not seem to be doing him any favours.
A good start for the new free taking rules
Most of the GAA news last week was covered with the new hurling free-taking rules. To be honest, most writers, journalists and followers were pretty fed up with speaking about ‘The Anthony Nash rule’. A stance was taken by the GAA. Criticism was thrown the GAA’s direction for changing a rule in the middle of a season and many criticised the new ruling, us included.
How ironic was it that Cork scored two goals from frees against Clare and Anthony Nash was nowhere to be seen. Patrick Horgan stepped up and scored two vital goals that saw Cork gain revenge for last season’s All-Ireland final defeat to Clare. Horgan did score two good goals, no doubt to the delight of the GAA who looked to vindicated for their new rule.
They were good goals, but the goalkeeping would have to be strongly questioned for both goals. The new rule cannot yet be classified as a success after only one game. Better goalkeeping could easily have seen both goals saved and the new rule being heavily criticised. We will still here plenty about this new rule before the season is out.
Munster Hurling Final will take place in Páirc Uí Chaoimh
After much debacle, it was finally confirmed that the Munster Hurling Final will take place in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Cork and Limerick share a home and away agreement for Munster championship games. Therefore the game is correctly going ahead in Páirc Uí Chaoimh with Cork having home advantage, following last year’s decider taking place in Limerick.
Calls were loud during the week for the game to be moved to Thurles to accommodate a larger capacity, but common sense prevailed in the end. Cork fans and players have travelled enough to Thurles this year already and it is correct that the game should be played in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. One last Munster final ‘down the park’, will be a great occasion before the stadium is redeveloped.
Qualifiers Round 1A Preview
The first round of the qualifiers takes place this weekend. Four teams will have their seasons ended before the end of June. All teams will be looking to continue their seasons for another while. Limerick will play London at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday. London will hope for more upsets that they provided last season.
Laois and Fermanagh is an attractive fixture in some ways. Laois gave Dublin a tough seventy minutes while Fermanagh almost pulled off a heroic comeback against Antrim but did fall a big margin behind in that game. Laois will be favourites but it is a hard one to predict.
Derry v Longford and Wicklow v Offally are the other two games. Derry are a side that many are predicting will go on a good qualifiers run this year and they will be hoping to get off to winning ways. Wicklow and Offaly is another tough game to predict. Wicklow are notoriously tough to beat in Aughrim and this may tip the balance in their favour.
There are a lot of games this weekend with teams being announced at different stages. Cork football manager Brian Cuthbert has not named any of the dual players in his starting fifteen. Damien Cahalane, Eoin Cadogan and Aidan Walsh are all named on the bench. Patrick Kelly and John O’Rourke have both been named in the half-back line, with Noel Galvin the one debutant in defence.
There are newcomers in the Kerry team who are missing a lot of players through injury and retirement. Michael Geaney, Paul Geaney, Stephen O’Brien, Brian Kelly and Paul Murphy are all included. John Coughlan is the one change to the Tipperary team to face Cork. Clare are yet to announce their team ahead of the Kerry game.
Donegal have a new midfield with Rory Kavanagh and Neil Gallagher returning after missing the game with Derry. Sligo’s Adrian Marren has been passed fit to play against Galway and they will be hoping that he can have a similar impact to the last time the two sides met. Galway have a youthful look to their side, but Paul Conroy and Michael Meehan are noteable absentees.
In hurling, Galway and Kilkenny are yet to name their sides. It was announced that Kilkenny pair, Henry Shefflin and Richie Power are fit and available for selection and it will be interesting to see if they force their way back into the side that scored so freely against Offaly.
Sean Cremin, Pundit Arena