As Sunday’s win over Cork slips a little further away in the rearview mirror, the sense of contentment about it grows. I sat down late last night to watch it again, via RTÉ Player on the laptop, but I was too knackered to look at the full thing so I’ve still got the increasingly insane second half to come a bit later on. At least now that I know how it finishes I won’t need to gnaw at what’s left of my knuckles this time around.
What struck me from rewatching the first half was how bloody hard the lads worked – particularly the forwards, who swarmed incessantly at the Cork rearguard as they tried to break upfield – and it also confirmed what a nasty undercurrent was running through the contest. That elbow into Kevin McLoughlin’s face by Cadogan was pure filth and it amazes me how a player like that seems to get away with this kind of thuggery all the time.
It also places into context what utter nonsense that whole “streetwise” allegation was and how it was, in fact, a smokescreen for a clear plan to rough our forward line up while hoping that, in the heat of battle, we’d look like the bad guys. It’s difficult to have much respect for a team like that and, as James said afterwards, it makes the win over them that bit sweeter. I hope they lose their hurling semi-final too.
It’s clear from this piece in today’s Irish Independent that Lee Keegan isn’t exactly empathising with the plight of our vanquished opponents either. The Westport man looks ahead to the semi-final but he also talks about the pre-match pot-stirring last week and how our lads interpreted this (correctly) as fear on their part. He then goes on to say:
We felt that our integrity was questioned, which was not nice, but we went out and did our job and got the job done, which was the main thing. They can say what they want but at the end of the day it is about getting results and we are in the All-Ireland semi-final and they are not.
Hear, hear – It’s not just between the white lines that Leroy is a classy operator.
For those of you still poring over Sunday’s match, there’s obviously going to be a veritable shedload of coverage in the local papers, with the Western already out since yesterday and the newly redesigned Mayo News hitting the streets today. I’ve even got a piece in the latter and I’ll post it here as well in due course.
Those who want to delve a bit deeper into how Sunday’s game panned out will be interested in Emmet Ryan’s Tactics Not Passion match analysis on Action81.com and the excellent breakdown of the key numbers in the game over on Don’t Foul.
Finally, just to confirm that the impressive win secured by Kerry’s minors over Kildare yesterday means that it’ll be us against the Kingdom in both the minor and senior semi-finals on the 24th. Jack O’Connor’s young charges are the 13/8 favourites for the Markham Cup this year while we’re the 4/1 outsiders (Dublin are 2/1 and Donegal 10/3 – Paddy Power odds here) as we aim to secure back-to-back All-Ireland titles at this level. What a start to the day it would be if Enda Gilvarry’s lads were to upset the applecart on them in that one. A double over Kerry at Croke Park in August? Now that sounds tasty.