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Cork dazzle and befuddle in latest defeat to Kerry

Darragh Ó Sé wonders if Rebels truly believed they could win while Gordon D’Arcy chimes in on debate over IRFU central contracts

“In these early rounds of the championship, we’re all cheap dates,” writes Darragh Ó Sé. “You don’t have to do much to impress us.” Still, Cork dazzled him during the opening 20 minutes in Killarney last Saturday, but thereafter the attraction wore off. “It was like they took the sail down and wanted to just drift along for a while.” Darragh is still at a loss to understand why they didn’t carry on in the manner they started the game. “I don’t know if they really were able to convince themselves that they had a chance of winning,” he concludes.

While Kerry prevailed, it was, by his own lofty standards, an off-day for David Clifford, but, he tells Ian O’Riordan, he’s not one to allow results or performances affect his weeks – if he did, it would, he says, be “a slog of a life”.

Also in Gaelic games, Seán Moran argues that for all the grumbling about the current calendar arrangements, “modern formats have immeasurably improved the championship experience for players and spectators” – and “a glance backwards will confirm as much”.

Gordon Manning, meanwhile, talks to Tipperary selector TJ Ryan ahead of his county’s championship opener against Limerick – which means Tipp are “essentially faced with Becher’s Brook straight out of the stalls”.


In rugby, Gordon D’Arcy dips in to the debate over IRFU central contracts being skewed along provincial lines – “or, if you prefer, the “haves” (Leinster) and the “have nots” (Munster, Ulster, and Connacht)” – while Gerry Thornley talks to Scott Bemand, coach of the women’s national team, ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations meeting with Scotland in Belfast which will conclude their campaign.

Johnny Watterson checks in on the Munster camp, buoyant after that impressive win over the Bulls last weekend and now preparing to take on the Lions in Johannesburg. Linley MacKenzie talks to Connacht defence coach Scott Fardy about adapting to life in Galway after his time living in “bloody Ballsbridge”. And Gerry chats with Cork Constitution’s James Taylor in the build-up to Sunday’s All-Ireland League final against Terenure.

TV Watch: With Everton battling relegation and Liverpool chasing the title, there’s a mountain at stake in tonight’s Merseyside derby (Sky Sports Premier League, 8pm). Match of the Day will have highlights later in the evening (BBC 2, 11.15pm), as well as of the night’s three other games.