Like every organisation in the modern, news-hungry world we live in the GAA is fond of hosting launches and yesterday saw a media event at Dublin’s Mansion House to herald the imminent start of the 2014 All-Ireland Series. Fronting the event were representatives from the four provincial champions – Dublin’s Jonny Cooper, Donegal’s Karl Lacey, Kerry’s James O’Donoghue and our own Robbie Hennelly. And, of course, one S Maguire.
The event has generated plenty of press coverage today, with pieces involving all four players mentioned above. The ones featuring Robbie (Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, The Score) all focus on what he said about the quality of our forward line and, in particular, Cillian’s marquee status. All harmless stuff, you’d have to say.
For the sake of completeness, here’s sample of what the other three had to say – Jonny Cooper on how hard it’ll be for him to break back into the Dublin team, Karl Lacey on what a great guy Jimmy McGuinness is and James O’Donoghue on how winning an All-Ireland medal is all that counts.
It’s just as well the GAA moved so quickly to do this year’s All-Ireland Series launch because unlike in previous years there’s a very narrow window this year where the final eight will be left standing. Up to this year, there was normally (barring years where replays were needed) a full week between the conclusion of the qualifiers and provincial finals and the start of the All-Ireland Series. This year, though, it’ll be less than 24 hours, with the Round 4B qualifiers not being concluded until close to sundown on August 2nd and then Kerry and ourselves out in the quarters against our respective qualifier opponents the following afternoon.