Cumann Chat: Mourne County tribulations, the lost art of defending, and Saffrons need perspective

Down, Down, deeper and Down

DOWN boss Paddy Tally acknowledged the gap that exists between the ‘big’ teams and the rest after his side were mauled by Donegal. Obviously things were still raw in the wake of their defeat, but he sounded fairly defeatist about the prospect of the gap narrowing. Personally, I see no logical reason why the Downs of this world shouldn’t be competing with the Donegals of, er, this world. Dublin are a bit of an exception, but Down have brilliant pedigree and should be in the mix for Ulster titles. As a Tyrone man, I remember feeling envious of the fact that Down and Derry had won All-Irelands, so what’s so stop them from at least getting back to the top of the table in Ulster? Derry are making a decent fist of it at underage level, and now it’s up to Down to follow. By all accounts, Conor Laverty’s u-20 team are a strong bunch, so time will tell whether Down fans will have something to cheer about before the season is over.

Saffrons need perspective

AH MAN, I feel bad for Antrim. Another hard luck story was not what they needed. The optimism going into their game against Dublin last week was notable. Now, I doubt that many Antrim fans felt that they were sure to win, but after their performances in the league, they believed that they would get close to Dublin. A shock was on the cards. Unfortunately they couldn’t get close to the mighty Dubs and were reminded that they still have some way to go to get close to the teams in the top tier. That said, their season is not over, but the conclusion for this year has to be that the county are going in the right direction.

They’re making it too easy

IT’S GREAT and all that teams are shooting the lights out (Donegal kicked a record number of scores in their Ulster Championship win over Down), but I have to say that a lot of the defensive play has been on the disappointing side lately. Part of me thinks – and hear me out because this is inane even by my standards – it’s that defenders are too nice these days. Where are the men who’d take your head off if you so much as looked at a football? It doesn’t help when you have unbearably fussy referees wrecking matches though – after about ten minutes of the Donegal-Down game, Maurice Deegan was already getting on my nerves. He spoke to me once for a feature I did on referees and he was nice as pie so I feel genuinely bad about saying that. Anyway, I want to see men kicking points with three hirsute psychopathic defenders hanging off them, god damn it.

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