Subscriber OnlySports Briefing

Mary Hannigan: A hurling weekend where we never saw anything like it

Jack Crowley moves into contention for World Cup squad; Leeds lose their marbles

Good morning,

Ah here, where do you start after a weekend like that? Especially when there was no beginning nor end to the drama.

Denis Walsh, we’re guessing, was in need of a lie down after being tasked with summarising what we witnessed in hurling. “On any given Sunday in the championship, being guilty of hyperbole is a recurring hazard – for yesterday, there must be an amnesty,” he writes. “You never saw anything like it.”

Denis was at the Gaelic Grounds for what proved to be a titanic tussle between Limerick and Cork. How much did Nicky English enjoy it? “This was as good a hurling match as I’ve ever seen,” he writes.


Mind you, the game between Wexford and Kilkenny wasn’t half bad either, Seán Moran describing it as “a madcap throwback to bygone times of big full forwards and aerial contests and goals galore”.

And Ian O’Riordan was at Semple Stadium to see Tipperary just about keep their hurling summer afloat despite losing to Waterford. “The heart mightn’t be great, but once we’re alive, we still have a chance,” as their manager Liam Cahill put it.

Malachy Clerkin, meanwhile, was over in Croke Park to see Roscommon’s footballers miss a chance to register their first win in the stadium in 43 years, ending up drawing with Dublin who, he says, are still All-Ireland favourites, but “playing like this, that status looks exceedingly shaky”.

There was, of course, nothing shaky about the manner in which Munster concluded their URC final against the Stormers, John Hodnett’s late try giving them their first trophy in 12 years.

Gerry Thornley heard from the Munster camp after the game, including Graham Rowntree who described the victory as the high point of his 16 years in coaching.

And Johnny Watterson reckons that Jack Crowley’s performance in the game must leave him “firmly in Andy Farrell’s sights for this year’s World Cup”.

In soccer, Ken Early reflects on the conclusion to the Premier League relegation scrap on Sunday, arguing that Everton’s survival was mainly due to the incompetence of Leicester and Leeds. Leeds’ demise, he writes, was “the culmination of a sequence in which they abandoned first their manager, then their principles, and finally their marbles”.

And in case you missed it, Nathan Johns delved deep into the career of Katie McCabe at the weekend, talking to the Republic of Ireland captain and two of the managers who played a formative role in her development into the star she is today. Those who doubted her along the way are still looking for their marbles.

Telly watch: Kevin Brannigan’s documentary ‘Kevin Moran: Codebreaker’ (RTE1, 9.35) has the sounds of a must-watch. As Malachy Clerkin wrote on Friday, “that he won two All-Ireland medals with Dublin and two FA Cups with Manchester United and, at least for a while, played on both teams at the same time ... is nothing short of completely ludicrous when you sit down to think about it. Some life. Some career. There’ll never be another like it.”