The game we wanted – Jarlath
IT IS rare for a game in Ulster to have hogged so much of the headlines for reasons which would go completely beyond the outcome of the game.
As a match itself, it wouldn’t be the hardest in the world to call. Tyrone had come through a straightforward league campaign unbeaten using a style of play which had served them well.
In the final this method had been found out by a Kildare team which was a notch or two ahead of them on the day in skill and preparation, but the farm hadn’t been sold and there was still time to get it right again for the championship.
Armagh would be strong up the middle, but a lack of out and out scoring forwards would make it difficult for them to surpass their average 13 points per match this year. It would take a massive combination of luck, effort and pure diligence to see off Tyrone.
On the day it went more or less according to plan, so we are still without an upset in the Ulster championship, but this was not what last Sunday was about. The whole of the province and perhaps Ireland were watching the game to see if it could spark the Ulster championship into some sort of life and give us something to be proud of.
In his well crafted speech at the launch of the Ulster championship, Aogán Ó Fearail had talked about how the games essentially are our product and of the importance of these being strong, entertaining and absorbing.
After three damp squibs, this game needed to deliver, and the product itself was taking a bit of damage, so everyone was rooting, not so much for the result, but for the game itself.
We can talk all we want about what we do here in Ulster for games development, for clubs and for culture, but our main product is the championship and if this does not deliver it diminishes all of us.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday June 4. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here