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Carlow captain Coady claims Rangers' threat not to be taken lightly

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Edward Coady, Mount Leinster Rangers. Picture: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Edward Coady, Mount Leinster Rangers. Picture: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Edward Coady, Mount Leinster Rangers. Picture: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

IT'S been a prolific little period for hurling snobbery, that most ancient and noble of Gaelic pastimes.

Last month, we had the Ballysaggart/ Creggan Kickhams controversy after the All-Ireland Junior Club final, when upon losing to the Antrim club amidst myriad claims of skulduggery and ineligibility, Ballysaggart selector Pat Bennett reflected thoughtfully: "We knew they couldn't score from long range. We said we would let them shoot from out the field and you see their wide count and it is probably double ours. That is because they are footballers. They can't score from out the field."

He then heroically rounded on referee, John Keenan – who despite hailing from the impoverished hurling nation of Wicklow, was handed such an illustrious game to officiate – and had the temerity to send off Bennett's own son for a second yellow card.

"When you're putting in a Wicklow referee that doesn't know what hurling is about then that is what you get," he harrumphed.

Good lines, definitely, but nothing as elegant as the colourful lambast of former Cork football selector, John Corcoran at a Rebel county board meeting last November, whilst acting in his capacity as a delegate for his club, St Mary's.

STRUCTURE

"For somebody from Carlow to be lecturing Cork on hurling is akin to Jedward telling Pavarotti how to sing," he noted sagely after Carlow hurling captain Edward Coady had the temerity to propose a structure for the hurling League which better suited the Barrowsiders, one which contradicted the format pitched by aristocratic Corkonians.

Timing, as well as tact, appear to be Corcoran's blind spots, however.

Not four months later, Coady is preparing for an All-Ireland senior club hurling final with Mount Leinster Rangers against Portumna next Monday. No small victory in itself against the sort of unenlightenment displayed above.

"In Carlow, we know we've got brilliant hurlers," Richie Coady insists. "We've got excellent hurlers. We know it's a small county with a small amount of clubs. But at the same time, the calibre of players that's in there is as good as anywhere else in Ireland. I suppose every step we took along the way probably surprised people but it also probably opened their eyes and made them aware that 'Jesus, these boys can hurl.'

CLIMBING

"I don't know. I haven't been talking to too many people too far outside the county or looked at too many newspapers or social media sites. But I would imagine we've opened some people's eyes after climbing the ladder a little bit."

Which constituted a far more measured response than the one issued directly after their Leinster final win over Oulart-The Ballagh in December, when he was quoted locally as saying: "Carlow were compared to Jedward there yes, and that was a sickening blow to be honest, but that would want to be retracted now, it's a big slap in the face to that man, whoever he was anyway, but it's a big kick in the jaw for him, and he'll need to retract that now fairly lively."

Those hoping on a joyful ending to a fairytale story might be disappointed on Monday though.

Portumna's two most recent wins in the All-Ireland club final have fallen hard on plucky whippersnappers, having beaten Birr by 10 points in 2008 and De La Salle by 19 a year later.

"That's the thing. It's still kind of pinch yourself, 'is it really happening?' stuff," says Coady. "We grew up watching Portumna in All-Ireland finals, looking at them and thinking what an amazing team they are.

"Never would you think," he concludes, "on St Patrick's Day, that Mount Leinster Rangers, our club, would be playing them."


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