Monday 30 September 2013

Clare Make No Mistake in Replay

All-Ireland SHC Final Replay:

Clare 5-16; Cork 3-16

Clare deservedly won the All-Ireland senior hurling final replay at Croke Park on Saturday evening last. Three goals by teenage corner forward, Shane O'Donnell, in the first half were decisive to the result. Poor defending by the Cork full-back line contributed in no small way to these goals. The Cork backs were much improved for most of the second-half and their team were in contention to steal a victory for a period. Clare upped the tempo for the final quarter and the Cork backs were again found wanting—taking the wrong options on a number of occasions. Clare were the better all-round team with skillful players in all positions. Cork had some fine individual displays but lacked the all-round skill and cohesion of Clare.

Monday 23 September 2013

Mayo Heartbreak

All-Ireland Football Finals

Senior: Dublin 2-12; Mayo 1-14
Minor: Mayo 2-13; Tyrone 1-13

Yesterday, in Croke Park, Mayo suffered a one-point defeat to Dublin in the All-Ireland senior football final. Neither team reached the level of performance they had displayed in the earlier rounds of the championship—as a consequence the standard of the game never reached expected heights. For television viewers, the poor quality of the production did not help matters. The Mayo forwards found great difficulty in getting into good scoring positions and, when they did so, their shooting lacked confidence. Their kick-outs should have targeted mid-field where the O'Shea brothers usually dominate; this, coupled with quicker use of the ball going forward and better back-up for the player in possession, would have tilted the balance in their favour. Mayo will win a senior All-Ireland in the next year or two, and I hope that the gallant trio from' 51 will still be around to celebrate it. In the meantime, it is congratulations to Dublin!

In the minor final, Mayo had a fairly sluggish first half and were lucky to be leading by one point at half-time. Tyrone had the better of the first half but spoiled a lot of good approach play by poor shooting—either the ball being sent wide or into the goal-keeper's hands. Mayo won the match by scoring 1-4 without reply in the early stages of the second half. A good Tyrone team fought back well and were only a goal behind at the final whistle.

Monday 16 September 2013

Great Day for Galway Camogie

All-Ireland Camogie Finals

Senior: Galway 1-09; Kilkenny 0-7
Intermediate: Galway 0-12; Limerick 0-10

Galway achieved a notable double in Croke Park yesterday when they won both senior and intermediate camogie titles. I must confess that I only saw patches of both games on television. I was very impressed by the high standard of striking displayed by the girls. The men folk could learn from the ladies that there are more ways of putting pressure on an opponent in possession of the ball without wrapping the arms around them. A disappointing aspect of the day was the fact that seven members of Galway's intermediate team were also on the senior panel. They should not have been expected to play both games on the same day; the intermediate final could have been played in Croke Park previously with hurling or football games.

Monday 9 September 2013

Waterford's Great Day

All-Ireland MHC Final:

Waterford 1-21; Galway 0-16

Waterford's long wait for an All-Ireland minor hurling title came to an end in Croke Park yesterday when they had eight points to spare over Galway. Waterford's display, for minors, must have been one the best ever seen in Croke Park. Besides their great team work, they had some outstanding individuals. Galway are a good team but they lacked the all round ability of Waterford.

The great work that has been done in Waterford, for a number of years, in developing the game from juvenile stage up is starting to pay dividends. In recent years they have been very successful in post-primary school competitions, and that success is now transferred to their county teams. There is a high standard of club hurling at all grades in Waterford, with promotion and relegation operating. They have at least six club teams at senior level capable of holding their own with any club in the country. The future looks bright for their senior hurlers.

I was very pleased that Tom Devine had such a good game for Waterford yesterday. His mother Mary was my nurse when I spent a day as a patient in South Tipperary General Hospital, Clonmel last year.

Amazing All-Ireland Hurling Final

All-Ireland SHC Final:

Cork 3-15; Clare 0-25

It was a thrilling, but strange, All-Ireland Senior Hurling final played at Croke Park yesterday. Clare controlled the play for much of the game, yet the match ended in a draw. The goals, coming when they were really needed, and the point scoring of Pat Horgan, kept Cork in the game. The Clare players showed great skill and harried in packs. It must have been disappointing for Cork that so many of their players under performed. Their excellent goalie, Anthony Nash, continued to puck the ball to his half-forwards and it was constantly taken by a Clare back or mid-fielder. It was strange that the Cork players and management did not take steps to counteract this. The point scoring for Clare, from frees, by Colin Ryan, showed once again the futility of fouling.

The fixing of the replay on a Saturday in late September is a retrograde step: it will take completely from the occasion and the All-Ireland final could end in a damp squib. If the ladies wanted their day in Croke Park they should have been given a Sunday in August.