For once, we’ll be in the same camp as the Kerrymen on All-Ireland final Sunday: they’ll have their hands full dealing with our conquerors Tyrone in the senior final while we’ll have our own tough battle with the young Red Handers in the minor match. With Tyrone in both finals, we’ll also be looking for all the support we can get from the Kerry crowd for our cause. Yerra go on lads, shout for us and we’ll … no, I think we’ll have to make do with our own shouting.
Tyrone’s minors looked bloody good today. 1-21 would be a decent score in a 70 minute game but to rack up that kind of scoreline, the bulk of it from play, in a 60 minute match, is little short of phenomenal. They blew Meath to bits with their hard-working, high tempo style of play and will rightfully start as favourites in the final. Their attack looks very strong (but then so does our defence), they’re solid in the middle third (so are we) and they defend well (based on yesterday’s evidence, we can attack a bit too). It could be an absolute cracker of a final.
The senior match-up should also be one to remember. Kerry and Tyrone have unquestionably been the two best teams in the country this decade – you have to go back as far as Armagh’s win in 2002 for the last time that one or other of them failed to lift Sam – and the question of which of them merits the title of Team of the Decade is still an open one. Kerry lead 4-2 at the moment but they didn’t beat Tyrone on the way to any of these titles, whereas Tyrone did for Kerry both times they won the All-Ireland.
Kerry wobbled badly again today, this time losing a nine-point lead to the Corkmen, before they finally nailed the game just after Cork had drawn level. What is it with Cork? Once again, they played absolute shite for 50 minutes and played like men possessed for the next 20: what would they achieve, I wonder, if they upped the good bit to 50 and the reduced the shite bit to 20?
In the other semi-final, it looked as if the occasion got to Wexford as they stood off Tyrone for the whole of the first half and allowed them to shoot point after point. They put in a far better second half and for a short while it looked as if they might trouble the Red Handers but Tyrone were able to up the pace again and kick for home. Still, it’s been a season to remember for the Yella Bellies and it was heartening to see Jason Ryan in the middle of a post-match huddle rallying them already for next season where, no doubt, revenge for that 23-point Leinster final drubbing should be at the top of their agenda.
Finally, commiserations to the women who ran out of road yesterday evening in their All-Ireland semi-final against Monaghan at Navan. It would have been a notable double had the minors and ladies qualified for the All-Ireland final on the same day (and well done to the respective County Boards for agreeing to such ridiculous match scheduling) but, by the looks of it, the girls were beaten by a better Monaghan side on the day. Oh well, there’s always next year.