by Lar na Pairce
All Ireland Hurling Final
Once again Lar na Pairce, despite the overwhelming views of most other commentators was spot on in last week’s analysis which suggested that Galway had all the necessary attributes to win the All Ireland.
The template for Galway’s approach was outlined in our previous column and it worked a treat, especially in the first half.
Galway hounded the Cats all over the field, took their goal well and met fire with fire. However they gave away some silly frees approaching the break which yielded three points to the opposition.
The second half saw Galway retreat, as they had done against Cork, and this allowed Kilkenny get a grip on the game.
This was the one disappointing aspect of Galway’s approach because had they continued to attack they would have won.
Not being ruthless especially against Kilkenny leaves every team vulnerable and they nearly paid the price. Hopefully that lesson will have been fully absorbed by replay time.
Last week we mentioned that Kilkenny rarely wins an All Ireland without a goal (1947 v Cork 0-14 to 2-7 was the last time) and again this was correct.
They had two chances first from Colm Fennelly which James Skehill saved well and then that penalty.
With immortality beckoning, Henry Shefflin, who was this writer’s man of the match, inexplicably went for a point when a goal would have given him his ninth medal surpassing the legendary Christy Ring in the process.
I discussed this with a veteran hurling enthusiast – who had seen Ring in his pomp – and was categorically told that not alone would the Cloyne maestro have gone for a goal, he would have buried it. Enough said.
Once again the Kilkenny defence looked vulnerable when Galway ran at them and forced them to turn, Niall Burke being outstanding on Brian Hogan.
The latter did have a fine second half but Galway had by then withdrawn their forwards and were not as forceful.
Canning too drifted out to midfield in contrast to the first half when his goal showed that he should never move too far out.
Credit too to referee Barry Kelly who handled the game very well and it was significant that Kilkenny were penalised for infringements which they normally get away with. The rules are the rules and must be enforced.
For the replay we will stick with Galway but they must again front up and this time when in front go for the jugular. A fifth title beckons.
Neighbours Castlehaven and O’Donovan Rossa, along with Dohenys fly the West Cork flag this weekend as they face St Finbarrs, Avondhu and Duhallow respectively.
The ‘Haven are in Bandon for a 3.30 throw in against the Barrs while at the same time Rossas are in Macroom for their clash with the divisional side. Dohenys face Duhallow in Coachford in a fourth round replay.
This is the 3rd meeting in recent years between Castlehaven and the ‘Barrs with each enjoying a win.
In what promises to be a cracking contest the outcome may well come down to the influence of the respective forward lines.
In this area the ‘Haven with Brian Hurley, Mark Collins and Seanie Cahalane may shade their battle with Jason Sexton, Robert O’Mahony and Jim O’Donoghue and qualify for a semi final tie with the winners of the Carbery Rangers, Bishopstown and Clonakilty triumvirate.
Meanwhile in Macroom, O’D Rossas face last year’s defeated semi finalists Avondhu.
Rossas defeated Aghada last time out and will again look to Donal Og Hodnett, Kevin Davis Conor McCarthy to spearhead their challenge.
Avondhu will depend largely on their inter-county trio of Ray Carey, Paudie Kissane and Colm O’Neill while Paul O’Flynn was very impressive in their last outing against Ilen Rovers.
On the premise Rossas will have prepared better given the constraints for divisional sides, they are taken to advance where Douglas, Dohenys and Duhallow lie in wait.
That trio will be reduced to two barring another draw as Dohenys and Duhallow replay their fourth round tie in Coachford.
Dohenys displayed all their renowned battling qualities last time out and were unlucky not to win as a late Donnacha O’Connor point forced a replay.
Duhallow will have to contend with club activity and other distractions (CIT hurlers) and will again look to O’Connor and Aidan Walsh to spearhead their charge.
Dohenys have been dividing their time between both hurling and football and will have to be at their best to advance.
However they are more than capable of doing so but will need to be more clinical in front of goal and take their chances.
South West junior football final
On Saturday in Leap the South West junior football final between Tadhg MacCarthaigh and St Oliver Plunketts throws in at 5.30pm.
MacCarthaighs were impressive winners of their replay against champions, Bandon and will start favourites to lift the title.
The three O’Driscoll brothers, Colm O’Sullivan and Tadhg Deasy will spearhead their challenge against a Plunkett side that regrouped well following a first round defeat to St Marys.
Kevin Coffey is their main man but they too are backboned by the O’Driscoll brothers (five), and will give their all.
However the greater experience of Tadhg MacCarthaigh will be vital and they should prevail and lift the Mick McCarthy Cup.
Finally the Cork camogie team under coach, Paudie Murray, go for glory against Wexford in Croke Park on Sunday.
Barryroe’s Jennifer O’Leary is a proven score getter and if she strikes form the O’Duffy Cup will be Leeside bound.
Cork defeated Wexford in the League final and hopefully they can complete the double on Sunday. This column wishes them the very best of luck.