Saturday 24 March 2018

Cork's 'fantasy' line-up strictly for the birds five-in-row ambitions?

This column is allergic to cynicism (honestly!) -- but the nonsense that goes on with team announcements and information on injuries stretches our patience to breaking point.

Our hearts sank further when Cork entered the ridiculous world of issuing a bogus line-up for last Sunday's All-Ireland hurling semi-final.

Everybody was suspicious when they saw Shane O'Neill named at right full-back as the word over previous weeks was that he wouldn't be fit in time. That was no surprise, but for some strange reason, Cork also decided to include Michael Cussen on the teamsheet.

It seems he was never going to start and was, indeed, replaced by Cian McCarthy. Now what in the name of Leeside logic did that achieve? Did they think Kilkenny would be confused or concerned by the change? Surely not. Anyway, the word was out well in advance of the game, so Kilkenny would have known all about it.

How disappointing to see Cork become the latest county to stray down this road, a wander which looked all the more ridiculous after their poor performance.

I'm the best man for Laois job -- Roe

Pat Roe has certainly put it up to the Laois County Board as they go about replacing Sean Dempsey as county senior football manager.

Roe, the current U-21 manager, told the 'Leinster Express' that he was disappointed by the delay in moving the process forward after nominations closed last Friday week and made it clear he had no doubt who should be appointed.

"I believe I am the best man for the job. I went for the job four years ago (when Liam Kearns was appointed) and I was the best man then and I feel I am still the best man now. I'm a passionate Laois man and I've nearly 10 years of inter-county experience. The county board know what I'm about, they know the structures I'll put in place and they know I'll be professional," he said.

Roe, who previously managed Carlow, Wexford and Offaly, must also know that if there's one thing GAA officers don't like, it's being told what to do, especially when it comes to appointing managers.

Are the gods hostile to five-in-row ambitions?

Kilkenny will be hoping that the injury to Henry Shefflin isn't the first mischievous act of the five-in-a-row curse. Jimmy Deenihan wasn't quite the creative equivalent of Shefflin aboard the Kerry football squad which set out on the five-in-a-row trail in 1982, but he was a brilliant corner-back.

Unfortunately for Kerry, he broke his ankle in early June and missed the rest of the season. Kerry's dream was wrecked by Seamus Darby's controversial late goal for Offaly in the All-Ireland final which, as every Kerry person still recalls in horror, was scored from a territory which, except for the injury, would have been occupied by Deenihan.

"Had Deenihan been playing, his natural corner-back instincts would have left him covering the space into which Darby ran. Here, after all, was a man who conceded very little to any opponent in six other All-Ireland finals," recalled Mick O'Dwyer.

Seriously folks, the gods may be hostile to five-in-a-row ambitions.

Farcical results of little use to anyone

Two worrying scorelines sat rather uncomfortably on the results-board last weekend.

Both were from the All-Ireland minor hurling 'B' quarter-finals and read: Meath 6-28 Mayo 0-2; Westmeath 7-26 Wicklow 0-7.

Perhaps Meath and Westmeath, who meet in the semi-final on Saturday, are very strong; then again it could be a case of Mayo and Wicklow being extremely weak. Either way, it's a cause for concern when two games involving U-18s end up in 44 and 40-point wins.

It wasn't much more competitive in the Connacht U-21 'B' semi-final last week when Roscommon beat Sligo by 5-14 to


Inter-county outlets are important for players, but we have our doubts whether anybody benefits from being at the wrong end of such heavy defeats.

Irish Independent

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