Put the fireworks on hold – John Martin
SO THE (supposedly) second biggest day in the hurling calendar is only three days away with Cork and Kilkenny squaring up at Thurles in the final of the GAA’s secondary competition.
Well it’s not really the secondary competition of course with provincial medals being a much-more-sought-after prize for the majority of players, but nevertheless for the sake of marketing, the National League final is still the second biggest day in the GAA calendar.
On a side note is it any wonder the GAA are urinating against the wind when it comes to marketing our games when you listen to the noises coming out of Cork and Kilkenny in the last couple of weeks?
Aside from the unquestioned assertion that Tipp in fact threw their semi-final to Cork because they didn’t want to meet Kilkenny so close to the championship, the, ‘We’re not too bothered whether we win it or not,’ sound-bite tennis in the week of a national final has again been to the fore.
But on to the game. I tend to disregard the ritual of the verbal shadow boxing that comes with the league final (and most league games). If you can convince me that Tipp manager Declan Ryan didn’t want to reach a league final by beating Cork two weeks ago, I’ll show you a man that should be in Hollywood’s A list.
Granted, neither team will be at their peak, Kilkenny’s loss to Dublin in last year’s decider and subsequent 23-point turnaround when they met in the championship two months later proves that for the Cats at least, the leagues are for playing and championships are for winning.
But, ‘not too bothered whether we lose or not?’ Don’t give me that. After last year’s defeat to Dublin, Cody held a one to one meeting with every player on the panel. He wasn’t praising them for lulling the opposition into a false sense of security ahead of the championship.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published Thursday May 3. Buy your copy now, in your local newsagent or online, by clicking the subscribe button on this page