The sun shone approvingly on Dublin's O'Toole Park yesterday afternoon as the hurlers of Faughs and St Jude's met in the senior championship, a reawakening of club competition in the capital after the four-month lockdown. A small privileged group of supporters, fortunate to possess one of the few tickets in circulation, watched a lively contest that ended in a dramatic draw.
In the 1970s, when Liverpool's football flourished in England and across Europe, I gathered that we were all human but not on the same team. Liverpool became mine. I don't recall Leyton Orient submitting a tender. It was a simple law of probability. The small ration of football on television available in one-channel land had a lot of Liverpool content. I can remember a Match of the Day presenter half-apologising for showing Liverpool again one particular night, explaining that they had earned the right to be seen both through results and the quality of their play.
On Thursday evening, the Na Fianna senior hurlers returned to train together on Mobhi Road for the first time since March. Two groups, observing the non-contact dictates and adhering to the upper numbers limit of 15, took half of the pitch each and off they flew like birds freed from captivity. Ah, the simple pleasures of striking a ball and being back on your home pitch again. Maybe it dawned on them how much they take for granted.
It may inspire a new genre - puck fiction perhaps. After several years, working in spurts before a final acceleration during the recent pandemic lockdown, Conor Power has almost finished a novel about hurling, set at a time when the local hero was paid for his wrist work.
After a 13-week lockdown, the GAA yesterday announced that its grounds will re-open on Wednesday, five days earlier than initially intended. It follows the easing of government restrictions on Friday and the latest recommendations from the Covid-19 Advisory Committee that met yesterday morning.
GAA pitches around the country, which have been closed since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will re-open for adult training on Wednesday next, June 24, five days earlier than initially planned, with a return to full contact training allowed from June 29.
'That's him!" Michael Walsh states, approvingly, when asked if the sculpture of his father, Ollie, is in his view a faithful rendition. Almost 19 years have passed since the unveiling and his admiration of the work of American sculptor, Jerry McKenna, hasn't faded a jot. The bronze figure stands on a neatly landscaped site in Thomastown, a copper beech tree on either side, the noise of the crowd replaced by the sound of traffic coursing through on the old Waterford road.
Carlow football has received a major setback with the decision of Turlough O'Brien to step down as senior football manager after six years. Under O'Brien's leadership the county experienced a few years of relative prosperity, before regressing more recently.
Carlow football has received a major set-back with the decision of Turlough O’Brien to step down as senior football manager after six years. Under O'Brien's leadership the county experienced a few years of relative prosperity, before regressing more recently.
Though it has not aged well, the 1981 All-Ireland final featured some of Gaelic football's best players and one of its finest ever goals. Kerry already had a three-point lead when an elaborate move culminated in a thunderous strike from Jack O'Shea that left Martin Furlong grasping air. Without being at their peak, Kerry completed four in a row.
In recent weeks a text from a friend, much younger, early 20s, drew attention to the 1995 All-Ireland hurling semi-final between Galway and Clare being shown on television at the time. This match took place before he was born. The text came with a sniffy judgement on the quality of the hurling, like he had stumbled across some ancient civilisation, a primitive species foraging with basic implements.
On Thursday the funeral cortege, a hearse and a few cars carrying members of his immediate family, moved down the Ennis Road in Miltown Malbay towards the house in the town square where Noel Walsh was born in 1935, by coincidence the year Tipperary won the Munster senior football championship, the last county outside of the two behemoths of Kerry and Cork to do so until Clare in 1992.
Characters. Remember? Maybe if you are of a certain vintage, you pine for those days when the GAA had them in greater abundance. The county men who could play and didn't mind having a bit of fun along the way. Before it all went so damn serious. A time of memorable nicknames. 'Lovely' Johnny Dunne. There's nobody playing called that now. Certainly not in Meath.
Davy Fitzgerald last set foot in Wexford six and a half weeks ago, shortly before the Government announced that schools were to close and the GAA put a freeze on competition and collective training. His Wexford hurling team was preparing to play Galway in the National League quarter-finals at home a few days later.
The phone rang repeatedly in Tony Honan’s antiques shop in Ennis over a period of weeks in 1994, the caller looking to speak to the young man working there. “He absolutely harassed me,” says Stephen McNamara.
Dear sir - I am writing to convey my absolute abhorrence at the decision by the Meath board and players not to arrange for a replay against Louth in the Leinster final. I, like many others find their decision beyond belief. As a sportsman myself, I ask how could Meath justify 'winning' the trophy in that manner? - Letter from a Drogheda resident in the Meath Chronicle, July 2010
After Gaoth Dobhair won the Ulster title for the first time in 2018, social media covered the celebrations with minimal interference from the censor. Singing and dancing all hours of the day, the bars of Gweedore were mobbed by hordes of happy club people, who seemed to have no work to go to, or at least there was no work being done. They partied as if they might never see these days again.
There wasn’t much social distancing when Neil Diamond brought 40,000 fans to Croke Park for a ground-breaking concert in late June, 1984, the centenary year of the GAA.
Last September, a week after Dublin won the All-Ireland senior ladies' football title and eight days after their male counterparts completed five in a row, something happened which highlighted a major defect and neglect within the city's Gaelic games family. Cuala, backed into a corner, withdrew its adult camogie team from a key championship tie because nine of their players were due to line out in a county intermediate football final later the same day.
Limerick, as Frank McCourt once told the world, is notoriously susceptible to rain. True to form, it came tumbling down from the grey skies over the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday evening, but a home side recently returned from a training camp in Portugal still maintained their recent supremacy over Waterford.
Limerick joined Clare in the hurling league semi-finals in a fortnight's time with a win more workmanlike than inspired in rainy conditions at the Gaelic Grounds. There was one shining exception. Gearóid Hegarty filled his boots with 1-5 from play, stealing the limelight from the usual scoring suspects.
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