Monday 27 January 2020

Six-day syndrome strikes Farney

The Six-Day Syndrome, whereby defeated provincial finalists on Sunday lose their qualifier game six days later, struck with a vengeance for Monaghan in Croke Park.

After a promising initial burst, they disappeared for a long period immediately before and after half-time. Kildare scored 10 points to just one from Monaghan and from there on, the result was a foregone conclusion.

Kildare comfortably marched on and are well capable of reaching the All-Ireland semi-finals. This is a substantial achievement despite no Leinster title coming during the first three years of Kieran McGeeney's term.

The fact that it was James Kavanagh from Ballymore who was the star of the forwards this time, instead of the usual Johnny Doyle, must also be a major source of encouragement for the Lilywhite supporters.

Dermot Earley, though, is still the most important man on this Kildare team, for his leadership qualities as well as his actual playing performance, but overall, there seems to a greater sense of direction to the whole Kildare set-up with each passing year under McGeeney.

Their newly converted custom of doing plenty of physical damage, legally, to opponents still looks a bit strange to those of us who have been long-time Kildare watchers, but results count, so who are we to quibble about this new 'he-man' approach?

Some Kildare followers may be somewhat concerned that a very poor Monaghan attack on this occasion scored an impressive 1-11 against Kildare, while only getting 0-7 against Tyrone six days earlier.

But, in general, it is very unfair to ask beaten provincial finalists to recover in time to be at their best six days later and this must be changed in the interest of fair play.

Sligo suffered an even worse fate than Monaghan on Saturday and and it's an interesting fact that out of 40 losing finalists since 2001 only 13 have managed to win their next game.

And of the beaten finalists that have been forced to play within six days, only one (Dublin in 2001) has managed to bounce back and win. That should be sufficient proof that change is urgently needed. Had any provincial final ended in a draw, the next game would have had to be postponed anyway, so a change is possible if the will is there.

Irish Independent

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