So, here we are again facing into another championship campaign. Don’t worry, I’m not going to launch into what would be just another preview of the summer’s action (though, in this respect, I can recommend these two offerings from An Spailpín, this one about the championship in general and this one about our own hopes for the months that lie ahead) but instead to alert you to the poll I’ve just stuck up on the site to gauge opinions about who you think might be climbing the steps in the Hogan this September to claim the game’s top prize.
The current Kerry/Tyrone duopoly has now been in place for seven years, which is just a year short of that long and overly celebrated Kerry/Dublin era a generation ago. I don’t know about the rest of you but this particular hegemony is causing me a bit of a pain in the particulars and I’d love to see somebody – anybody! – coming in dish ear and putting an end to the current dreary reign. Cork are obviously the most likely to do this but their abject failure when similarly touted for success last September means that they still have much to prove and, if it’s Kerry that are lining out against them in this year’s final, nobody should be at all surprised if those rather large Leesiders end up getting their holes badly kicked all over again.
An Spailpín makes the insightful point that the last few years has seen a dark horse make it to the semis – Wexford and Meath (twice) have made it this far in the last three years – and he reckons that Joe Kernan could well steer Galway into the last four. If we win Connacht (a bit of a bigger ‘if’ now, in light of our league final flop) and avoid falling on our faces once again in Croker in the quarters (perhaps an even bigger ‘if’), we could well find ourselves in this quartet. Who else might make it? Kildare? Meath (again)? Armagh? Down?
The bookies obviously can’t see beyond Kerry, Tyrone or Cork at the minute and they’re quite clearly the front runners so they’re the only ones I’ve included in the poll. I have, however, left open the option of adding others, in case anyone has any particular insights on a dark horse who might make it all the way to glory in September. Here’s hoping, I suppose.
UPDATE: I see that someone has already added ourselves in as an option. Feel free to add others.