As I mentioned on the Twitter updates last night (which I posted twice as I had a fair bit of red wine tweet tweeting inside me at the time), there seems to be some correlation between my absences from the country and Kerry’s infrequent bouts of being unable to kick snow off a rope. We were sunning ourselves in Italy last year when Cork beat the shite out of them in Munster and, lo and behold, no sooner had we decamped to the Home Counties this weekend but the Rebels repeated the dose. Statistically significant, or what? Those of you who think not should also bear in mind that the years I spent living abroad – 1988 to 1996 – were also ones where the Kingdom failed to win a single All-Ireland. Time to pack those bags again, I think.
I also see from the GAA’s Master Fixture list that the second and third rounds of the qualifiers will be played while we’re away for our pre-Connacht final fortnight in the sun dish ear so this theory will get a good stress-testing then. Imagine: the hoors could be out of it completely before we take the field (that’s if we manage to sort out the Sheepstealers this coming weekend) in the Connacht final. If that isn’t an incentive to go out and smash that poxy old Pearse Stadium hoodoo, then I dunno what is.
Cork are starting to look the business though now, aren’t they? I’ve been fancying them for a serious tilt at Sam for the last few years but between all the striking and the inability to play for longer than 30 minutes in any match, they’ve failed utterly to get their act together. Conor Counihan – an All-Ireland medallist himself of course – looks like a man who knows what he’s up to and the blend of those talented All-Ireland U21s with the likes of Canty, Murphy, Masters, Lynch and the rest makes them look like a serious outfit. And they’re seriously big fuckers too. Paddy Power has slashed their odds for Sam down to 3/1 and I think that these odds could look generous enough later in the summer.
The other big story we missed from the weekend’s action was this afternoon’s shock win by Antrim over Donegal, a win all the more notable given the fact that it was played in Ballybofey. From what I saw on the highlights, the Herrin Gutters have only themselves to blame – they kicked a load of wides while the Saffrons took every chance that came their way. Donegal even had the indignity of seeing a perfectly good goal ruled out right at the end but when did you last see a Gaelic ref who was willing to play it by the book in order to prevent a fairy story like this running its course?
No more than ourselves, Donegal have gone backwards since that 2007 league final but today’s loss represents a new low for the county. We’d regard ourselves as being in better nick at the minute but that proposition is set to be tested in a serious way at McHale Park (and it has, of course, now been confirmed that it will be at McHale Park) next Saturday evening.