Friday 20 April 2018

Clare will win... according to sequence

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile Sportsdesk

I don't know whether or not Davy Fitzgerald or TJ Ryan are superstitious or if they believe in sequences but either way there's an intriguing backdrop to the Clare v Limerick hurling qualifier tie in Thurles on Saturday.

Remarkably, the counties have won every second game in 11 Championship meetings over the last 25 years.

It began in 1991 when Limerick won a Munster first round, followed by a Clare success in 1993.

And so it has gone in alternate meetings since then, with Limerick winning in 1994, '96, '07, '12 and '15, while Clare were successful in '95, '06, '08 and '13.

The highly unusual sequence is a good omen for Clare as if the pattern continues, they will be joining Cork or Wexford in the draw for the All-Ireland quarter-finals on July 24.

Then again, the longer any sequence lasts the more likely it is to end, although the bookies don't see it that way in this case, having installed Clare as odds-on favourites to reach the last six and play either Galway or the Tipperary-Waterford losers.

Still on interesting trends, Tyrone footballers will be encouraged by their high-scoring (5-18) performance against Cavan on Sunday.

It was reminiscent of 2005 when after drawing with Cavan in the Ulster semi-final, Tyrone hit them for 3-19 in the replay and later went on to win the All-Ireland title.

From what I can ascertain from Jerome Quinn's excellent record section in his various books on Ulster football, Sunday's 5-18 total was the second highest in the province's SFC history, four points behind the 8-13 scored by Cavan 70 years ago - that was recorded against Tyrone (3-2) in the 1946 Ulster quarter-final in Omagh.

Of course that game was played over 60 minutes, making Cavan's total all the more remarkable.

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