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Cats and Limerick only gig in town

THANK heaven for Kilkenny and Limerick. They have saved our GAA summer just as the Premier League gets ready to bare its multi-million pound molars next weekend.

As Tommy Lyons once famously remarked during another World Cup year, the Dubs packing out Croke Park on a hot summer's day are "the only gig in town".

To paraphrase the former Sky Blues boss, Gaelic football and hurling have been the only shows around since Brazil's month-long carnival ended in mid-July. Not even Garth Brooks got in on the gig, much to the GAA's chagrin, it must be stressed.

In other words, football and hurling have enjoyed a clear PR run with only Rory McIlroy raining on their parade. And they've blown it.


Or at least, they did until last Sunday's gripping All-Ireland hurling semi-final reminded us that knockout sport - played brilliantly by two teams who refuse to accept the looming eventuality that one of them will be heading, any minute soon, for the annual scrapheap - is a treasure that we should never take for granted.

In truth - and we know you won't feel remotely sympathetic towards our 'plight' - it's been hard work at times trying to put words on the, ahem, wonder that was this year's Leinster hurling final slog; or its football cakewalk equivalent; or the hurling quarter-finals (a Thurles marathon best missed); or even much of the supposedly do-or-die football played in Croker over the past two weekends.

Then, just as soccer gets ready to rumble, the GAA belatedly fights back with a game that engrossed from first second to last.

Can we have some more, please?