Today’s two dreadful provincial deciders answered a few questions and offered a few hints about how the summer might pan out.
From our perspective, the main point of clarification was that Kerry’s facile Munster SFC final win over Clare confirms their place as the top-seeded team in Group 1. This means our opening match in the new All-Ireland group stage will be against them at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney on the weekend of 20th/21st of this month.
It hasn’t been confirmed yet whether this fixture will take place on the Saturday or the Sunday. There’s nothing, though, now standing in the way of firming up the date and time of the game, which hopefully will happen soon so everyone can get their arrangements sorted.
Kerry had it all too easy against Clare at the Gaelic Grounds today, a match that was over as a contest well before half-time. The main talking point was, understandably, the fact that the Clifford brothers decided to line out for the Kingdom the day after their mother had passed away.
David and Paudie proceeded to honour her memory in fine style, both of them putting in powerful performances. It was a truly astonishing feat to witness and fair play to them for it. They have some tough days and weeks ahead of them now but today will, one senses, fortify them for what lies ahead. Deepest condolences to them both and to the entire Clifford family on their enormous loss.
Over in Castlebar, meanwhile, another mismatch unfolded as Galway steamrolled Sligo to capture their 44th Connacht SFC title. That puts them level once more with us in the provincial roll of honour and it’s also the first time they’ve recorded back-to-back Nestor Cup successes since 2003.
Galway now head into what’s set to be a tricky group, featuring as it will both the defeated Ulster finalists and Tyrone. They look well equipped for the challenge, however, and there’s little doubt but that the Tribesmen are seriously in the hunt for the big one once again this year.
Having been sitting on the sidelines for so long, it’s hard to know how we measure up when compared to the two counties who collected silverware today. In the case of Kerry, however, we don’t have long to find out, with all roads now leading to Killarney for us in a fortnight’s time.