Tuesday 6 December 2016

Hurling and soccer pointing the way to a glorious summer

Gerard O'Regan

Published 12/06/2014 | 02:30

Kilkenny's Colin Fennelly in action against Offaly's James Rigney during their Leinster SHC clash at Nowlan Park. Photo: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Kilkenny's Colin Fennelly in action against Offaly's James Rigney during their Leinster SHC clash at Nowlan Park. Photo: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Sport is essentially about wilful escapism. The reality is that the actions of grown men – and sometimes women – chasing a ball around a football field is an intrinsically daft activity. Yet the passions it so often provokes, can enthral thousands, and sometimes millions, as is the case with the World Cup about to be unleashed upon us. Some sweet, sweet, sporting moments, beckon this summer.

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Normally field sport aficionados in Ireland, come the month of June, start to really engage with the Gaelic football and hurling championships. It's the time of year when the Irish summer fitfully gets on its way – and the dash and daring of the old games provide their traditional seasonal verve.

The sight of county colours stirs an annual reawakening, and atavistic yearnings come to the surface once more. In cauldrons of uncertainty around the country, the wishful hopes of the county team, will be put to the test. A victory will presage ideas of warmer weather and even better days to come. There will be the latent hope, of landing the glittering prize, reflected in the names of Sam Maguire or Liam MacCarthy. Of course defeat and despair will ultimately be the fate of all but one band of hopefuls in each code. But no matter. At this time of year, anything is still possible.

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