WHEN Kieran Joyce lifted the Independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup aloft in 2011 after UL's dramatic comeback against cross-city rivals Limerick IT there was no man happier than Brendan Bugler as third-level's promised land had finally been reached.
You could call it the Richard Johnson problem. Take Tony McCoy out of the equation and Johnson might well be regarded as the finest National Hunt jockey of them all. No-one but McCoy has ridden more winners than Johnson and the Englishman finished runner-up to the Irishman in the jockeys' championship on 16 occasions. Just one man stood between him and immortality.
'There's a few big players just not performing for us and I don't know why or what's wrong. You need your big players to perform if you're going to deliver. When you're seeing the likes of young Killian Daly as probably one of your best players, you're expecting poor young Shane Dempsey to come on and win matches when you have senior players, that's fucking not on. Excuse my language, but these big players are not standing up. I don't know why or what's going on with them. You saw the other lads and they just laid everything on the line, lads that are general average players. But the few big lads who should be standing out, leading, fucking lay down. And that's the real trouble with this team.' - Tom Cribbin, April 5, 2015
Limerick, Dublin, Clare and Cork are my tips to make it through next weekend's All-Ireland hurling qualifiers. The Cork-Wexford clash is the one that should be most keenly contested and while I wouldn't rule out the draw, the Rebels get a tentative nod to edge it. It's a massive game for both counties who are coming in low on confidence.
The vast majority of Waterford hurling folk are delighted that next month's Munster hurling final has been fixed for Thurles. Once the Waterford players indicated that they wanted to play at Semple Stadium, this was the nod for Derek McGrath and his management team to say 'yes'.
1 The Waterford renaissance: Waterford have been a breath of fresh air in championship 2015. This is a new, young team ready to challenge for honours. They're playing to a system, they're well-drilled, well-organised and boast some really talented players. After the league final success, people waited to see how the team would react in the heat of championship and they got their answer in that Munster semi-final against Cork.
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