Of course the likes of @peddlerscross wouldnt remember or care but back in my day St Patrick’s Day was Railway Cup
Final across both codes, time moves on that’s gone and so are the club finals, to think there would be 60k at Crokes and Wallys today is just parody stuff.
I do think 2012 was iconic in its own way. The way Cross came back, wave after wave was truly special. Under no circumstances were they going to be beaten.
Slaughtneil completely collapsed in 2017 after the sending off. Gooch being in possession at the final whistle was an extraordinary moment. Being able to bring subs like Tony Brosnan, Micheal Burns and Jordi Kiely on made all the difference in an epic low scoring dogfight.
In the 1990s up to about 2000 the attendances at club finals seemed to be going up year on year. It never really pushed on after that because I don’t think the GAA were arsed marketing it as a proper event.
Although I believe 2004 may have been a bumper attendance but I was out of the country for that one so I don’t know for sure.
I suppose with Paddy’s Day a lot depends on the weather. The old saying about March is that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Where I was today was a dreadful day weatherwise, I’m not sure what it was like in Dublin. The club finals was one of those events that could attract a good “walk up” crowd from Dublin based people but a lot would depend on the weather. With the GAA abolishing cash payment and the move to January, the days of the walk up crowd are gone.
The concept of a “season” I think is a modern one. It didn’t really exist back then as the time window for competitions stretched all over the place. A thing that is peculiar to the GAA is that competitions don’t start with a bang, like the first day of the Premier League or the NFL in America or the AFL in Australia. In GAA, competitions traditionally limp apologetically into action and slowly crank up. They’re like people who silently slip in the door. The competition is on, lads, but don’t tell anybody we’re here, it’ll dawn on people.
I think I remember one GAA writer (it was Donal Keenan in The Title) lamenting how “you wouldn’t know the GAA season was about to start” and that “the GAA should be doing more to promote the start of the season” but he was talking about the resumption of the National Leagues at the start of February 1997, the same leagues which had started the previous October, two weeks after the All-Ireland final replay. So surely October was the start of the inter-county “season” back then. But the previous club season ran on until March.
I would have always had the winners on St. Patrick’s Day as the All-Ireland club champions of that year, so for me Birr and Corofin were the 1998 champions, at the end of what you could loosely term the 1997-98 provincial and All-Ireland club championships.
The NFL do it differently, so the Kansas City Chiefs are apparently the 2022 “world champions” despite winning this title in February 2023, while the PDC World Darts Championship frequently only has one game played in the title year. For me, if you win a title in a calendar year, that’s year you’re champion of. The Kansas City Chiefs, 2023 champions, not 2022.