Friday 19 January 2018

Yet another national hurling title for Kilkenny

There will be no fuss or big deal about their latest success - that cup will now be put aside, celebrations will be muted and focus will return to their local championships before their semi-final appearance in the LHC.


This year they are in unfamiliar territory as they are not the current Leinster champions.

However, after last Sunday's league final success they will be strong favourites to win back the Bob O'Keeffe Cup.

Galway had a very mediocre league campaign and don't seem to have pushed on after their two All-Ireland final appearances last year.

They are seriously struggling in the scoring department and this will continue if they persist playing Joe Canning in midfield.

If Galway are going to play only two inside forwards I think it would be more beneficial for them if these were to be Joe Canning and Damien Hayes.

Both of these players have built up a huge chemistry and understanding from playing together at club level and Galway now have a sufficient number of exciting and fast half forwards who, with their strength and pace, could support Canning and Hayes.

Dublin will be hugely disappointed with their collapse in the league semi-final against Tipperary in Thurles.

This game was over as a contest at half time and it puts serious doubts on their credentials to upset either Galway or Kilkenny in Leinster.

The best they can wish for this year is an easy draw in the qualifiers where hopefully they will gradually improve as they progress.

The legendary Brian Cody's absence from the sideline doesn't seem to have upset Kilkenny's fluency at all.

Due to his tremendous success record and his commitment to Kilkenny it is not surprising that the players have responded excellently without him.

Having suffered two defeats in their opening games of the National League in which they were severely hampered by injuries they brilliantly turned around their season and finished the remainder of their league matches unbeaten.

Brian Cody's heart condition has been well documented and I'm sure that his involvement in the many fantastic and exciting games over the last 15 years must have taken a toll on his health.

Tests and experiments have proven that managers of teams in all sports codes are exposed to seriously high levels of stress when involved in competitive sports.

Despite their narrow loss to Derry the county hurlers will be delighted with the draw they have received from the losers group.

A home fixture to Mayo is an excellent opportunity to get their Christy Ring campaign back on track.

On the basis of their comprehensive defeat by Kildare in Round 1, Mayo would be deemed as the weakest team left in the campaign.

Hopefully the game will be played in Aughrim rather than Arklow. As Wicklow will be the stronger team hopefully they can utilise the extra space available.

Concerns have been raised previously that playing games in Arklow's tight pitch was not conducive for playing in the vast domain of Croke Park.

Two big calls by the hurling selectors last weekend - playing Brian Osborne at full back and not starting Andy O'Brien.

Hard luck to Glenealy Senior Camogie team on their Leinster final defeat to Trim played last Friday night.

Trim's performance is a reflection of the excellent work being done in Meath camogie which also resulted in their recent All-Ireland success. This Trim squad consisted of no less than seven members of that All-Ireland winning Meath team.

In what was a busy weekend for the Glenealy girls they quickly put the disappointment of their Leinster defeat behind them when on Sunday morning in Newcastle they comprehensively defeated a battling Kilcoole team in Round 3 of the County Senior League.

In an all round fantastic team performance special mention must go to team captain, Pamela Maher, who scored a whopping 5 goals and 8 points.

The fact that no Development Squads are in place as yet this year is a huge concern for all involved in the growth of camogie in Wicklow. I know from watching many underage games there are some fantastic talented young girls playing camogie in Wicklow and hopefully the Camogie Board will act urgently to assemble these squads.

Last year I witnessed both Linda Byrne and Frances Kearns working tremendously hard with the U-14 squad and as the majority of these girls are still eligible to play at that age level this year it is a huge shame that the hard work and dedication they put into this squad is not being continued.

Come on Wicklow County Camogie Board, we've already seem to have lost our county Senior and Minor teams so don't let the same happen at underage level!

Wicklow People

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