September Road: A big Wednesday for Carlow as traditional also-rans hope to reach final frontier
And some other stories to get your teeth into
It may look like a private box at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon, but, alas, it’s not – Queen Elizabeth II was unable to support her local side in yesterday’s thrilling Connacht semi-final draw. That was despite an invitation signed by the cathaoirleach of Leitrim County Council and the chairperson of Leitrim Tourism. It must be disappointing to all in London that the replay has been fixed for Roscommon next Sunday, and not Ruislip (which is just a short carriage ride from Buckingham Palace).
Carlow’s biggest game of the year will take place this week.
We’re not talking about the senior football clash with Laois this Friday, where the players will need night-vision goggles if it goes to extra-time at the floodlight-free Dr Cullen Park.
Nor are we referring to the following day’s hurling qualifier at Wexford Park.
No, the crucial match will be this Wednesday, when Carlow’s under-21 hurlers host Wexford in the Leinster championship semi-final.
Bear in mind, Carlow have never even played in a Leinster under-21 hurling final before, nevermind won the title.
Last year, Carlow were denied a final spot after being beaten by a point by Laois, but they didn’t have a major scalp under their belts like they do this year – with Dublin knocked out in the last round.
It came as a big shock to those outside the county, but Carlow had a strong minor side three years ago, and many felt the Dublin scalp was coming.
Pity that TG4 have (understandably) chosen to show the usual suspects of Kilkenny v Offaly, who clash in the other semi-final on Wednesday.
AGAINST THE ODDS
Too late now, but a bet on the two draws (Leitrim-London & Kilkenny-Dublin) was no less than 200/1.
TIPPERARY READY FOR THE LUCK OF THE QUALIFIERS DRAW
Some counties have managed to combine the modern phenomenon of early morning training sessions with the even more recent phenomenon of early morning All-Ireland qualifier draws.
We’ve heard of several county panels that have trained on a Monday morning before settling down together to find out who’ll they will be meeting next.
After a drinking session on the Monday morning after losing to Limerick, it was a change of pace for the Tipperary hurlers, who met at 7am this morning for a training session before sitting down to hear the draw for the Phase II of the qualifiers.
If Dublin had hung on yesterday it could well have been a Tipperary v Kilkenny qualifier pairing.
It could yet be, of course – with Clare matched with Laois, and Tipperary matched with the loser of the replay between Kilkenny and Dublin.
THAT’S THE TOOTH: DOG BITES BACK
What is it with all the biting apparently going on during recent intercounty matches?
Perhaps the victims of biting incidents should be thankful the current fashion is to snack on ears or arms.
The recent reports reminded us of a report from The Irish Times in October, 1988 which told of a cockerel, sporting the colours of Tullamore GAA club, being released on to the field during the Offaly senior football championship final.
A dog, presumably of the opponents Ferbane persuasion, chased it around the field until the poor bird – minus some feathers – escaped behind an advertising board.
This newspaper carried the story the following day along with the headline: “Dog bites cock at Offaly final.”
Eddie Brennan @NedzerB13
On any given day the favourites can be beaten that’s the beauty of the hurling championship & why we luv it
Emlyn mulligan @emlynmulligan
Tough battle today..fair play to the lads. Had to dig deep in the end. Great spirit shown! The dream is still very much alive!
Dara O Briain @daraobriain
Emerged from filming the Apprentice today to find that Dublin had held Kilkenny and London had held Leitrim! Up the Capitals! #GAA