All Ireland Hurling Championship 2018


#1828

I heard certain DCU tyros were on a warning for indiscretions earlier in the season, but I wasn’t aware of this development. We have some very good young players but do they want to be great like AP McCoy, Henry Shefflin, Brian O’Driscoll and Padraig Harrington?


#1829

I think the previous indiscretion was just over eagerness to get a run out in Croker.


#1830

july 11 2018, 12:01am, the times
Brian Cody has plenty to do to hog Galway’s limelight
enda mcevoy

Hurling commentary

Brian Cody’s musical tastes are a matter of record. Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Bob Dylan. The subject of the Kilkenny manager’s cinematic tastes being rather more nebulous, it is not known whether he has ever seen Groundhog Day and, if so, what he made of it.

We can safely infer nonetheless that at the very least, in common with the rest of western civilisation, Cody has a fair idea of the premise of the movie. Obnoxious weatherman Phil Connors — a glorious turn from Bill Murray — is stuck in a moment he cannot get out of, stranded in a wrinkle in time in the same small town in Pennsylvania on a day that repeats itself endlessly. He tries his best to escape. He comes up with a myriad of inventive ways of ending his torture. None of them work.

It is the movie equivalent of meeting Galway every few weeks.

The provincial round-robin fixture in Salthill at the end of May? A comfortable win for the hosts. Fair enough, Cody will not have lost too much sleep over the outcome, whatever about the manner of it and the margin. This was more like a fact-finding trip. Kilkenny’s first look, up close and personal, at the New Galway.

Croke Park last Sunday week? A really good performance by the underdogs, at least up as far as the final 30 metres of the field. There was a game plan and there was clarity and there was cogency. Kilkenny worked the sliotar from back to front with care and precision. A draw was nothing less than they deserved, even if they had to hit the last three points to secure it.

Semple Stadium on Sunday? Ah. There was the rub. This was what the economists term a regression to the mean. Galway did what they had not done in Croke Park. They brought the sound and the fury and they had 1-16 on the scoreboard by half-time. There was no way back from that, although only Kilkenny could have managed to trim a 12-point deficit after 32 minutes back to one point midway through the second half. Most other teams in the same boat would have shrivelled and ended up losing by 15 points. Whether this constituted a medium-sized consolation or merely a small consolation is another matter and, let’s face it, an irrelevant one.

That Cody preserved his record of never having lost successive championship matches to the same team will not have bothered him afterwards; he may not even have been aware of it. He will probably have discovered in the meantime, on the other hand, that this was the first time Kilkenny failed to beat Galway in three consecutive meetings in a relationship that dates back to 1898.

Rather more disturbingly from his point of view, what if the next encounter occurs in the All-Ireland final next month? At the outset of the championship both Anthony Daly and Eoin Kelly floated the prospect of the counties meeting three, now four, times. One has to assume that, having had Mick Dempsey around the place for as long as they have, Kilkenny will get the recovery process right this week and will stand at least an even chance against Limerick on Sunday. Win that and they would stand an even chance, or close enough, against Cork in an All-Ireland semi-final.

The issue for allcomers is that Galway are phenomenal physical specimens. There is no other way of putting it. Cyril Farrell’s team of the 1980s were remorselessly physical too, one of the hardest and most jagged-edged teams to ever step on a hurling field, but they were not man-mountains in the way Micheál Donoghue’s charges are. One has to scroll back to the great Wexford team of the 1950s to find such he-men.

It was not quite he-men against boys at Semple Stadium but it was not far off it. Kilkenny included five players in their first full championship season, three of them up front. Compare that with the case of Conor Whelan, who scored four points. He is only 21 but he has been around since 2015 and possesses the body sculpting to match. No wonder the challengers had trouble getting the ball past the Galway half-back line when they went long in the first half and even more trouble when Walter Walsh, their resident battering ram, went off injured at the end of the opening quarter.

Closing the gap between the sides in terms of strength and conditioning is the work of a couple of years and any number of gym sessions. Closing the gap in scoring output, Kilkenny’s other big problem on Sunday, will not be achieved overnight either. Their starting six forwards managed 1-3 from play between them compared to the Galway attack’s 1-18. Seven days earlier it had been 0-6 to 0-13. In Salthill it was 1-2 to 0-11. That said, imagine the men in stripes turning up at Croke Park next month for Episode IV, with Walsh recovered, Colin Fennelly back on form and Richie Hogan nailing the shots he missed in Thurles. Fanciful? Probably. Beyond the bounds of possibility? No.

With its layers and nuances and endless points for discussion, Groundhog Day gave rise to a body of critical analysis rare in a modern movie. A presumably unnecessary spoiler alert: having put his incarceration in the same town on the same day to good use by helping old ladies cross the road, saving people from choking, learning French and so on, Murray eventually becomes a better person, gets to snog Andie MacDowell and escapes his hell. One pundit with far too much time on his hands calculated that it took him 34 years to manage it.

Cody does not have that long. And yes, this moment he is stuck in with Galway, he will get out of it eventually. He always does. But scarcely this year.


#1831

What a total waste of ink.


#1832

is there anyone going to the Clare Wexford Game?

I just logged on and you can get tickets in the middle if the North Stand.

Will there be 8K at it?


#1833

No.


#1834

Are you going yourself?


#1835

No getting a ticket for an in law and their kid home on holiday.


#1836

You’re a good man.


#1837

Don’t worry he will pay one way or another. Thinking of sending the daughter over to them for a month next Summer. I haven’t told him to come up with the invitation yet.


#1838

Be fuck all given that it’s 3pm on a Saturday and half the lads out there work at least a half day on Saturday.

Pure fucking stupidity from the fixtures committee as usual.


#1839

The golden era of wexford hurling and all ye have is excuses


#1840

Absolutely. Treating hurling as second class by putting it on at that time. I believe the plan was for a double header in Cork but Cody told them to fuck off.
Davy should have done the same but then added up the mileage from Sixmilebridge to Wexford down to Cork, Back to Wexford and then home to the 'bridge and thought it was a wonderful idea.


#1841

I know you’re living in the past but it’s a long time since the 1950s buddy.


#1842

just had a look there. fuck sake. “Thurles or no where”. What kind of gimp would you be to think that it is playing into Clares hands to have it in Cork and not Thurles. Thurles is a fucking disaster of a road to get there, much better drive to Cork. And even @croppy_boy at it here, “half of the lads work on Saturday”? To say an oft used phrase, any backup to that? Saturday afternoon games are fine for any club games or any other activity during the year, but we have one game on in Cork and people think the world is going to end. I must be one of few people who was actually happier it was announced for Cork and not Tipp. And on a Saturday in the afternoon. Couldnt suit me better. It’s all good, sure no one is going so I’ll be able to drive up to the ground.


#1843

Paul Morris ruled out for Saturday.


#1844

I couldn’t give a fuck about the venue but the 3pm thing is the bit that gets me.

I work in the same sector as yourself and I know the majority of lads are either working doing nixers to make ends meet or doing jobs on the family farm on a Saturday.

To be fair to you i know travelling with young kids makes it easier as you’re getting back nice and early but I was just making the point that I think it will affect the attendance. Would you not thing there’d have been more at it if it was put on at 5pm?


#1845

Some people have an inclination to complain no matter what. Not everybody has our naturally sunny disposition.

If it was a Saturday evening throw-in, you’d have lads complaining that they’d be home too late and that it works against bringing young children and so on.

Other lads are demanding a double header (cc @mickee321) and saying the quarter finals are always held together, even though last year’s quarter finals were on different days. Was there uproar last year when Clare-Tipp was on a Saturday afternoon?

I accept some folk work on Saturdays but can they not take a day off or swap shifts if they’re that much into it?


#1846

3/5/7,makes fuck all difference in the scheme of things. It’ll suit some people, it wont suit others. If it was later, I wouldnt be going. If lads are doing nixers, then fair enough for them. But chances are they wouldnt be working doing nixers til the afternoon and then want to drive to Cork or Thurles anyway so chances of them realistically going would be zero anyway. If people want to go, they will go. Time or venue for the most part are excuses.


#1847

I will be there Saturday but they should have played it in Portlaoise like the 2002 and 2009 encounters. Would have guarenteed a decent enough crowd and atmosphere. I’d say there will be barely 14k at it Saturday