September Road: Garth Brooks debacle leaves ‘lockhards’ short-changed

Comparisons between soccer and GAA, and the most ignore rule in Gaelic football

There is a perfect pattern to Tipperary’s senior hurling season this year. In the past 20 weeks, they have played 10 league and championship matches – with 50 goals scored in the matches, an average of 5 per game. Worryingly, however, for the Premier County, more of the three-pointers were scored against the county than for it (27-23). Of the teams remaining in the race for the Liam MacCarthy Cup, Waterford have the worst goals scored to conceded ratio – claiming just seven goals in their last 10 competitive appearances, while allowing 20 hit the net at their end of the pitch. Ominously for all who believe in the “goals win matches” maxim, Kilkenny this year are running at an average of scoring two goals for every one conceded.

There is a perfect pattern to Tipperary’s senior hurling season this year. In the past 20 weeks, they have played 10 league and championship matches – with 50 goals scored in the matches, an average of 5 per game. Worryingly, however, for the Premier County, more of the three-pointers were scored against the county than for it (27-23). Of the teams remaining in the race for the Liam MacCarthy Cup, Waterford have the worst goals scored to conceded ratio – claiming just seven goals in their last 10 competitive appearances, while allowing 20 hit the net at their end of the pitch. Ominously for all who believe in the “goals win matches” maxim, Kilkenny this year are running at an average of scoring two goals for every one conceded.

Mon, Jul 14, 2014, 11:03

If Garth Brooks had any interest at all in the GAA, he’d have known doing five-in-a-row at Croke Park was a near impossible task. Just ask Kerry or Kilkenny folk.

But you know who the real losers are from the whole debacle? Steady now . . . not them . . . We’re talking about ‘lockhards’.

In Portlaoise at the weekend, at least four estates were blocked off to the traffic streaming (or more accurately crawling) into the area surrounding O’Moore Park for the double header that involved teams from Laois, Tipperary and Offaly.

Blocked, that is, unless a fee of between €3 and €4 was handed over. Just think – at least 100 cars in each estate, that adds up to a tidy sum.

But who was the cash for?

“Ourselves” we were informed when we enquired from one of the collectors.

Not a charity then?

“No.”

Something similar, of course, has been in operation in Dublin on match days (and, regrettably, non-match days around places such as the Mater Hospital).

Handing over money to park on a public road?

The view of ‘lockhards’ in the capital ranges from nuisance to intimidating thugs.

Of course, you can’t park in the immediate vicinity of Croke Park on match days (or concert days) anyway, so maybe that was the real problem here. And now there’s even less chance to ‘earn’ a few bob for simply wearing a high-vis jacket on a public street.

COMPARISONS ARE ODIOUS

Now that the World Cup finals are finally over, can we please stop comparing the most popular sport in the world with hurling and Gaelic football?

It seems every GAA analyst, especially on television and radio, over the past few weeks has had a go at the finals in Brazil along the lines of, “sure how could you stick looking at Netherlands v Argentina after watching that classic hurling game?”

Just stop.

Our games are not great because other sports – every now and then – fail to live up to their billing.

And, anyway, the sneering merely gives ammunition to the anti-GAA brigade who like to do the same to Ireland’s most popular sports.

Our games are great.

QED.

MOST IGNORED RULE IN FOOTBALL?

We hardly need to say it, but touching the football on the ground with the hand is a foul in Gaelic football.

There are, however, two exceptions: one for the goalkeeper when they are inside the small square (or rectangle to be exact.

The second exception is Rule 1.2(ii): Any player who falls or is knocked to the ground while in possession of the ball may fist or palm the ball away on the ground, and may score by doing so.”

How come then, whenever a player falls to the ground with the football and touches it off the ground, the immediately referee blows for a free?

Every referee does it.

It happened in yesterday’s Connacht decider.

It happens every week.

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