Final countdown (take 2)

Thu, Sep 27, 2012, 01:00

Compiled by DAMIAN CULLEN

Lie of the land: Galway divided while Kilkenny look to regulars

The Connacht county has divided loyalties, maintaining a major interest in the big ball game as well - and, like some other counties (Cork being an obvious one) the divide is geographical.

The hurling heartlands lie in the east of the county, though football has a more universal spread.

There is also almost no club cross-over at all between the players on the current Galway football and hurling panels.

The maps show the home clubs of the players who have seen action for Galway or Kilkenny during this championship season (25 for Galway and 22 for Kilkenny).

Perhaps most striking is the Galway club that has no representation on the pitch for Galway this season. Despite St Marys, Athenry, claiming three All-Ireland senior club titles in the past 15 years, and producing such quality players as Joe Rabbitte and Eugene Cloonan, they have fallen off the radar when it comes to the county side (and similarly have not contested a county final since 2004, when they won their seventh title in 11 seasons).

Kilkenny, on the other hand, continue to draw from the same big clubs each year – with a few others intermittently emerging to bring the quality up to the phenomenal standard the county has got used to.

Of course, it helps that they dont have to compete with football.

Contrary to what many seem to believe, there are football clubs in Kilkenny – quite a few, however the standard is not at the same level as other counties, and gifted dual players are rarely too taxed about which code to concentrate on.

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