Poor year for Ulster hurling – John Martin column
THE CURTAIN came down on Ulster’s involvement at all grades of 2012 championship hurling at the weekend, writes John Martin this week.
This year has probably been the most disappointing in recent memory, at county level at least, with Loughgiel’s All-Ireland club win back on March now a distant memory after a summer which has seen defeat for Antrim by Westmeath in the Leinster championship, followed by a 32-point defeat to Limerick in the qualifiers.
Down’s minors lost to Clare by 23 points in the All-Ireland quarter-final, and on Saturday Antrim’s u-21s also lost to the Banner, this time by 28 points.
Down and Derry both fell short in the Christy Ring Cup and only Armagh in the Nicky Rackard, and Tyrone winning an all-Ulster Lory Meagher Cup final when beating Fermanagh, prevented a bleak summer throughout the ranks.
The B level underage competitions also proved fruitless this year with Armagh minors and Fermanagh falling at the semi-final stage in the minor and under-21 competitions.
For Antrim in particular it’s been a summer to forget. For a year that started with so much promise – a new manager at senior level, an opening league win over Wexford, Loughgiel’s heroics at Parnell and Croke Parks, a favourable draw against Westmeath in the Leinster championship to come – it ended with very little to look forward to.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday August 30. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here