Sport GAA

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Five things we learned from the GAA championship this weekend

Wexford's Harry Kehoe celebrates after scoring the second Wexford goal late in the first half of extra time
Wexford's Harry Kehoe celebrates after scoring the second Wexford goal late in the first half of extra time

Cormac Byrne

It was a busy weekend in GAA with plenty to be gleaned from the action.

1. Wexford are going to give a team a right drubbing when they click

It must be thrilling but infuriating to be a Wexford hurling fan at the moment. There victory over All-Ireland champions Clare came despite more wayward shooting.

Their 12 first half wides should have had Liam Dunne pulling his hair out but their aerial dominance kept them in it.

When they finally found their scoring touch in the second half of injury time they left Clare for dead.

Once their shooting clicks, someone is in for a hiding.

2. Kildare learned a lot from their defeat to Meath

Their naivety against the Royals was plain to see. The Lilies left their full-back line exposed against a very potent Stephen Bray and were punished.

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A change of tactics yesterday saw them drop players back to cut out the supply to Down's forwards.

Kildare soldiered for the first 55 minutes and earned the right to cut loose late on to win.

They should account for Clare and a big scalp may not be beyond them.

Mark Poland, Down, tangles with Eoin Doyle, Kildare. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 2B, Down v Kildare, Páirc Esler, Newry, Co. Down. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE

3. Cork are a 10pc better team than last year

The way in which the Rebels weathered Limerick's early onslaught before ultimately prevailing shows an improvement from their 2013 campaign.

The athleticism of Aidan Walsh has added plenty to their arsenal and they are the top side in the country right now.

A measure of their rise is the fact that Pat Horgan was kept relatively quiet but they still amassed 2-24 with Conor Lehane and Alan Cadogan picking up the slack along with Seamus Harnedy.

13 July 2014; Cork's Aidan Walsh celebrates after the game. Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final, Cork v Limerick, Pairc Uí Chaoimh, Cork. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

4. Tipperary and Clare have earned the right to see Munster seeding quashed

Few outside Munster paid any heed to the row over the seeding of the Munster football championship draw which kept favourites Kerry and Cork apart.

Tipperary and Clare have earned the right to see that seeding system banished after their performances so far in the championship.

Tipp were two points ahead of the Rebels until Aidan Walsh's late intervention in their provincial semi and beating Laois in Portlaoise at the weekend, where they kicked 3-17, will have Galway worried.

Clare beat Carlow by double scores and while they did what was expected their performance in their defeat to Kerry suggests that they will pose problems to Kildare in Ennis.

Man of the match Michael Quinlivan of Tipperary brushes off a challenge from Laois's Robbie Kehoe in his side's qualifier win at O'Moore Park. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

5. We will only see where Connacht football stands when they go outside the province

Roscommon and Sligo both scored qualifier wins over the weekend but, to be fair, Cavan and Limerick were ripe for the picking.

We'll get a better gauge of where the Rossies are when they lock horns with Armagh this week while Sligo will have to deal with the inevitable backlash from a wounded Cork team.

Mayo look to be shaping up well even though they have not been as impressive this time around in Connacht.

Galway appear to be a team on the cusp of a big display. Shane Walsh is a player with enormous potential and is a fearless attacker but Paul Conroy, Micheal Lundy, Paul Conroy and Danny Cummins need to give more to the cause.

The Galway full-back line looks vulnerable but they won't have to face Cillian O'Connor every week.

David Keenan of Roscommon tries to slip away from the grasp of Cavan's Gearóid McKiernan during their qualifier clash at Kingspan Breffni Park. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

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