Dublin finally make the breakthrough and get back into the Leinster final for the fist time since 91. Anthony Daly is doing a great job with them this year and all the underage success of recent times bodes well for the future. They mightn’t have much chance against Kilkenny in the final, bu they’re still guaranteed an All Ireland Quarter Final spot and anything could happen there.
Kilkenny and Galway served up a great game. Galway should be happy enough, even though they lost they showed they could mix it with Kilkenny, they can have a physical edge to their game, and they should be able to negotiate their way through the qualifiers. Only issue I’d have with this game is that it was too physical almost, the game seems to be going that way. There are countless blatant fouls like trips, pushes and jersey pulls being let go because the ref wants some flow to the game. And no doubt plenty of people are wondering what a Kilkenny player has to do to get sent off! As one caller to a radio show suggested, they might have to behead someone first!
Waterford and Limerick got back to good hurling after the previous week’s mess although that won’t be much consolation to Limerick. John Mullane looks like he’s on for another great year.
Tipperary are an enigma at times. They should have been out of sight mid way though the game instead it came down to the wire. That was a brilliant attempt by Colin Ryan with the long range free at the end for Clare. Looked like it was headed for the top corner until Cummins made another top drawer diving save.
The qualifier structure this year is bizaare. The beaten semi finalist have to play each other before the winners play first round losers. There’s no logic to it. Anyway the draw is (with homefield advantage to the first named):
Offaly v Cork and Laois v Antrim
Clare v Galway and Wexford v Limerick.
A damp squib in every sense of the word. Neither team appeared up to much, scores were few and far between and weather was awful.
I was going mad when RTE delayed their coverage to stick with the Westmeath Wicklow extra time but as it turned out I needed have worried. Aside from some nifty first half points from John Mullane there wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about. The teams themselves seemed to agree as they looked reluctant to come out for the second half, preferring the shelter of the stand.
Still an extra game will do them both the world of good. Next Saturday’s replay should hopefully be a more exicting match up.
Elsewhere Carlow made it to the Christy Ring final after an avalanche of goals helped them see off Kerry in their replay. Should be a good final between them and Down.
More top notch hurling ideas from Guinness, this time it’s the Supporters nights - an evening in each of the main hurling counties where the public can meet up with stars from that county and have a Q&A session.
Next up is Clare on Wednesday 10th in the Temple Gate Bar in Ennis. Ollie Baker and Jamesie O’Connor are confirmed to take part at the Q&A and Mike Mac and two of the current lads will be along at some stage on the night.
Cork will follow with a night in Reardens on next Tuesday 16th June. Joe Deane, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Tomas Mulcahy and Donal O’Grady are all attending there.
Throw in on both nights is at 7.30pm and the events are free of charge and open to all those over the age of 18. All people need to do is send their details to [email protected] to reserve a spot.
After that, we have the Galway event in the Raheen Woods Hotel in Athenry on Tuesday 30th June, with Tipp to take place in Hayes Hotel in early July. Kilkenny will follow with an event due to take place in Langtons on Wednesday 16th or Thursday 17th July.
Sounds like a great chance to pick the brains of some of the best hurling people in each county but you do need to book your spot in advance so as long as you’re over 18 get those emails out to [email protected]
Another cool little initiative from Guinness in their 250 celebrations, they’re going to donate €250 to a hurling development fund for every goal scored in the championship. They’re calling it “Arthur’s goal”.
Speaking before the first round of provincial games due to take place this weekend, Guinness Brand Manager, Barry Fitzpatrick, said, “This summer Guinness wants to celebrate all that is great about hurling. Given that we are currently celebrating 250 years of Guinness and 125 years of the GAA, it’s only right that we give something back to the game. We want to ensure its prosperity and longevity for future generations. Arthur Guinness was renowned as a philanthropic man and if he were here today, I’m sure this is the sort of cause he’d want to be associated with.”
Assuming it’s including qualifiers aswell, it could add up to a nice sum. Last year there were roughly 70 goals which would have worked out at €17,500. Hopefully the forward lines are in equally good form this year.
The Championship proper throws in this weekend with 2 Leinster Quarter Finals and a Munster clash. Galway make their debut in Leinster and should easily overcome Laois. Wexford and Offaly will be a much closer affair. Wexford with home advantage may be able to get revenge for their Division 2 League Final defeat.
Tipperary and Cork in Thurles could be a cracker. No one knows what Cork will turn up but with all the experience in the team they should be able to muster a big performance.
show Tipperary at 2/5 to beat Cork who are at 9/4. They have the Wexford Offaly one very close with Wexford slight favourites 10/11 versus 11/10 and naturally enough Galway are 1/100 to see off Laois.
The Ulster championship is down to quarter final stage with Derry v London and Down v Armagh.
Predictions: Offaly, Galway, Tipperary, Derry and Down all to win.
Time to start showcasing some of the great hurling moments…courtesy of youtube of course. Let’s start with John Fenton’s brilliant goal from a 40 yd ground pull against Limerick in 1987. The is a clip from the RTE greatest gaa moments so we get John himself explaining how it unfolded and Tomas Mulcahy trying to claim some credit!
are running a competition to pick the best hurling and football teams over the last 25 years, from 1984 to 2008. They have shortlisted 4 players for each position. Prizes involve vip days at Corke Park.
and list of players.
One glaring thing is Tommy Walsh being listed at the 12 position. That’s really taking a liberty. I know he’s won all-stars all round the place but it’s wing back where he’s been for a long time now. Seems like they were loaded with wing backs they wanted to include.
For what it’s worth my 15 from the shortlist would be
Michael Kavanagh; Noel Hickey; Martin Hanamy;
Brian Whelehan; Pat Delaney; Larry O’Gorman;
Johnny Pilkington; Pat Critchley;
Martin Storey; Henry Shefflin; Mark Corrigan;
Eddie Brennan, DJ Carey; Liam Fennelly;
There’s a good few GAA predictions games around at the moment. Mostly in the same vein, you guess the winning margin in matches and get points based on how close you were.
GAA Predictions -
Full 70 -
Face the Ball -
Fantasy GAA -
I’ve jumped between most of them without settling on one as a clear favourite. Pity we can’t have the full fantasy style game like the soccer one at premierlegaue.com but I guess it’s a lot harder to manage a GAA championship with the different amount of games each team plays and all the different positions and potential scoring options.
Kildare v Mayo and Kerry v Derry down for decision on Saturday.
Kildare 4/7 Mayo 6/4
Kerry 8/11 Derry 6/5
I think i’ll stick a few bob on a nice little double of the outsiders there, Mayo and Derry. Mayo are surely on a high after the big win over Westmeath and Derry pushed Down close in their first game so there’s no reason why they can’t both make it through. Naturally enough now that I’ve put money on them they’ll both fail…