Sport GAA

Saturday 25 January 2020

Championship 2014: Seven wonders for this weekend

Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Seven things to think about ahead of this weekend's action.

1 Hawk-eye to be away with the birds again as Treaty minors return to Croke Park?

Croke Park and birds haven't gotten on too well of late.

Last weekend Flash the Falcon was guilty of a terrible dereliction of duty when charged with delivering the match-day whistle for the Limerick-Kilkenny game but instead of landing around centre-field, he headed out over the Cusack Stand.

And on Sunday, Hawk-Eye will be under the microscope as the Limerick and Galway minors clash at headquarters.

Last year, Hawk-Eye infamously ruled a good Limerick point as a wide thanks to a system error and the Treaty eventually lost to the Tribesmen after extra-time.

2 Stats prove dead-eye 
O'Donoghue is a thoroughbred

Winning consecutive man of the match awards outlines just how good James O'Donoghue has been for Kerry this year.

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But a closer look at his shooting statistics in both the Munster final against Cork and the subsequent last-eight clash with Galway show just how economical he has been.

According to the lads @dontfoul, O'Donoghue has converted 14 of his 17 shots from play in those two games, giving him an 82pc strike rate. Two of those efforts were on goal, meaning he's 13 from 14 when going for points, which translates as an incredible 93pc conversion rate.

3 Rebel Kearney proof that persistence can bring you a long way

Cork midfielder Daniel Kearney is fast on his way to becoming a household name.

He has already played in two All-Ireland finals and is just 70 minutes away from a third if the Rebels can see off Tipperary on Sunday. But it wasn't always that way for the Sarsfields man, who was regularly overlooked early in his career.

Standing at just 5' 9" tall, he never played minor with Cork and his U-21 career amounted to just two appearances in 2010. However, through good form with his club he forced Jimmy Barry-Murphy to give him his chance and has now established himself as a top-notch inter-county midfielder.

4 Managerial merry-go-round already in full swing

The season has a bit to go yet but Paul Grimley's decision to step down in Armagh adds further momentum to the managerial carousel that had already picked up considerable pace.

Already there are five vacancies in Leinster, with Westmeath, Louth, Offaly, Westmeath and Wexford all in the market for a new football manager.

Down are also on the hunt for a successor to James McCartan, while Niall Carew stepped down in Waterford.

At least there should be some stability in Armagh, with Orchard legend Kieran McGeeney set to step up to the hot seat, having been No 2 to Grimley this season.

5 Mattie's Galway dynasty returns to Croke Park

It's one of the GAA's less celebrated managerial achievements but Mattie Murphy will take the Galway minors back to Croke Park for Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final clash with Limerick.

Murphy has helped produce competitive teams year on year despite not having any provincial competition. He has won a remarkable six All-Ireland titles along the way as well as competing in another five finals.

Who is to say he won't add a few more?

6 GAA throws down gauntlet to 
free-style hurlers

Rose of Tralee hopeful and Cork camogie star Anna Geary showed off her freestyle hurling skill this week and the GAA have called on others to upload their videos to win a day out at the All-Ireland Hurling final, a '2014 Freestyle Hurling Champion' trophy, an iPad and the opportunity to take part in an inter-county training session.

Videos should be no more than 30 seconds long and should be uploaded to the official GAA YouTube channel. Closing date for entries is August 27 with full details available at www.gaa.ie

7 Clubs the only losers if county 
programme is extended

Leinster are considering introducing a round-robin system to its football championship. It makes sense on paper and might help improve a competition that Dublin have ruled mercilessly in recent years.

But the real losers here as ever will be the clubs. An already congested schedule would be faced with more complications and that's something the GAA should discourage.

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