The Mayo rollercoaster continues!
I enjoyed the matches between Mayo and Galway and Meath and Clare at the weekend. The Laois v Cork game was not on the TV while the Tyrone v Cavan game was boring and over after 25 minutes.
Mayo were full value for the win against Galway and I thought they were the better team by far despite what was being said on TV. They almost shot themselves in the foot (as usual) but they pulled through in the end.
It’s amazing what difference a week makes on the championship. Against Armagh Mayo looked jaded and out of ideas. In Limerick they looked a different side and seemingly ready for the fray again. They have certainly given their huge following a roller-coaster ride over the past ten years - don’t rule them out yet! They could cause an upset in this Super 8s competition. I wouldn’t put it past them.
Cork are an enigma. They looked a really poor side in the league but since the championship started they are playing great football and putting up big scores. However, we will see how good they are on Saturday evening in Croke Park.
Just a note on the match at The Gaelic Grounds: There was a crowd of 19,000 which would have fit comfortably into Dr. Hyde Park. I know that there are more important things going on this weekend but that situation will have to be sorted out quickly.
Irish Open goes down a treat
The Irish Open in Lahinch was an unqualified success and despite the fact that there was no Irish winner, it is very interesting to hear the likes of Padraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and the winner John Rahm saying that it was probably the best Irish Open ever played. The weather cooperated, and the pictures of the Clare countryside being beamed all across the world was publicity that you could not put a price on. The place looked stunning.
There seemed to be great craic locally too as this huge sporting event was brought to a small rural village and they made a success out of it too.
If no Irish player was going to win then it was fantastic that Rahm was the victor. He is one of the superstars of the game and he will be back to defend for sure.
I also loved the interview with Shane Lowry on Saturday after his round.
Reporter: ‘What will you do for the evening Shane?’
‘I’m off to Limerick to the Galway v Mayo match with the lads. It should be good craic’.
No driving range or putting green for Shane. He gets his priorities right!
Celtic Challenge win a real boost
It’s great to see Roscommon have success at underage level and the recent win for the U-17 hurlers in the Celtic Challenge was one of the best that we have seen in a number of years.
Last weekend I was speaking to a couple of parents (separately) of lads who were on the Roscommon panel and both were full of praise for the management and the County Board for the way the players were treated during the campaign. According to the parents, no stone was left unturned and the management of the team was professional and with meticulous attention to detail.
To beat a Limerick team in the final was certainly no mean feat. We hear a lot of complaints about players not being treated as they should in the GAA and other sports so it’s no harm to highlight the times when the players are treated well. Well done to all concerned.
Women’s World Cup a huge success
The Women’s World Cup was a huge success in terms of raising the profile of women’s sport and the numbers tuning in to watch the games were very big.
I didn’t get to see all the games but the USA looked by far the strongest team in the competition and they deserved to win it. It is rare that the USA have a very strong team in international sport, and at home they are superstars.
The women’s game in the UK is growing slowly and here we have a long way to go. The departure of the Irish women’s manager Colin Bell last week is a sign that all is not well this side of the pond and the revamped FAI will have to move quickly to regularise that situation.
Mass to remember All-Ireland winners
St. Dominic’s GAA club is holding a special mass to remember the late Liam Gilmartin this Saturday in the village church in Knockcroghery at 11 am. The mass will also remember all of the members of the Roscommon team of 1943 and 1944 who won All-Ireland senior football championships. A nice idea on what will be a busy day for the GAA.
Super 8s (Round One)
Roscommon v Tyrone and Dublin v Cork are previewed elsewhere this week.
Donegal v Meath on Sunday in Ballybofey at 2 pm
The Meath v Clare match last Sunday was a thoroughly enjoyable affair but it was littered with mistakes on both sides. Having powered through the Ulster championship, Donegal will be really looking forward to this campaign and especially as they start at home. Meath will look at their qualification for the Super 8s as progress but they are taking a massive step up here. If Michael Murphy, Paddy McBrearty, Ryan McHugh and Jamie Brennan are on form there will be only one winner.
Kerry v Mayo on Sunday in Killarney at 4 pm
What a game this promises to be. Everyone knows how important it is to win your first game in this competition. Kerry have been shaky at the back so far but they have some marvellous attacking players. Mayo have been, well, Mayo really! They have played well in almost every match and then they seem to go asleep and allow the opposition back into it. I am very wary of Mayo who are capable of anything, but I will give a hesitant nod to The Kingdom to win it narrowly.
All-Ireland SHC Quarter-Finals on Sunday in Croke Park
Cork v Kilkenny at 2 pm
Another mouth-watering prospect here: Kilkenny just ran out of road against Wexford while Cork have found the going tough in Munster. Nevertheless, the Rebels have some serious attacking talent. I have a feeling that Kilkenny rely too much on TJ Reid. Cork to edge a classic.
Laois v Tipperary at 4 pm
In the course of my radio work I spoke to a lot of very excited Laois hurling people on Monday after their huge win against Dublin. Eddie Brennan has done an incredible job since taking over there and they have some really talented players. Tipp will be too strong though. No shock here.