All-Ireland final a clash of the titans, Sonia O’Sullivan reflects on Berlin

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Ellen Keane narrowly missed out on a medal in Dublin on Wednesday night. Photograph: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Ellen Keane narrowly missed out on a medal in Dublin on Wednesday night. Photograph: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The All-Ireland final between Galway and Limerick is creeping ever closer, and in today’s GAA Statistics column Eamon Donoghue suggests Sunday’s showpiece is set to be a clash of the titans in more ways than one. Indeed, the combined average height of the two XVs expected to line out in Croke Park is a shade less than 6ft 2in - taller than the previous five finals - while the Galway side bidding to defend their SHC title is taller than any finalist on average since 2013. And while Limerick are a physically imposing side themselves, it could be the colossal Johnny Glynn who proves the difference for the Tribesemen at HQ. Glynn - who commutes from the US to represent Galway - has been his county’s lowest-scoring forward this summer, but has grown into the Championship and is set to tower over the Treaty County defence. Donoghue writes: “At the bottom end of that [Galway’s scoring] scale is Glynn - who has actually scored more goals than he has points in Championship hurling for Galway (8-7). Nevertheless, he is set to go into Sunday’s final of big men with a considerable height advantage over the Limerick fullback line. This could be decisive. Limerick corner back Sean Finn is 5ft 10in and 85kg, Mike Casey is 6ft and 75kg, and Richie English is 6ft 1in and 81kg. Glynn is over 6ft 4in and 98kg.”

Meanwhile in her column today Sonia O’Sullivan has reflected on last week’s European Athletics championships in Berlin: “For me what stood out most about the athletics in Berlin was the still-unpredictable nature of the sport. . . .We were so often introduced to the next generation of athletics stars, and many of the youngsters just seem to raise the bar with so much ease.” However, she has lamented Team Ireland’s inability to stand out and show the abandon displayed by the likes of Norway’s 17-year-old middle-distance hero Jakob Ingebrigtsen, and Swedish pole vault sensation Armand Duplantis. She writes: “For Irish athletes, that must all bring about a realisation that simply qualifying and getting on the plane is not good enough. More of them need to raise their own bar, maybe show a little more fearlessness, and push the limits out a bit more, rather than take the safe option.”

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