Joe Canning looks on as his late point  from the Cusack Park sideline seals victory for Galway over Tipperary in the memorable  2017All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Galway great’s exceptional exploits leave hurling fans with special memories

‘The Mayo support really is amazing. We in Galway admire it, we’re just not going to be made feel bad about our rather more laissez-faire attitude across the border.’ Photograph:  Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Chaotic schedule means little overlap between supporters in stands and local GAA stalwarts

Dublin celebrate their six-in-a-row of All-Ireland titles after the win over Mayo at Croke Park last December. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

There are many things that go into building up a hatred of sporting teams

Ciaran Murphy was among the fans who braved the conditions for Roscommon and Galway’s Connacht semi-final at Dr Hyde Park last weekend. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Hard to focus on anything other than constant threat of pneumonia at Dr Hyde Park

Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton walks down the tunnel after lifting the Sam Maguire last December. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

We should be thankful for such a man – one who still wants to keep a few secrets

Fans look on as Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald is banished  to the stands during the Antrim v Wexford league clash at  Corrigan Park, Belfast. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

A shame we won’t have entire summer’s hurling and football attended solely by pensioners

This Dublin team contains some great players, including James McCarthy (above right)  McCaffrey, Fenton and Cluxton – the greatest goalkeeper we have seen. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho cy

There are structural and aesthetic problems – along with the current lack of competitiveness

TJ Reid is undoubtedly one of the best hurlers in the country. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Given the nature of modern championships, accolades should be spread more widely

Clare’s John Conlon and Galway’s Daithí Burke fought out a fascinating personal duel in last Saturday’s riveting All-Ireland hurling semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Both men had their moments during a memorable personal duel at Croke Park clash

Monaghan’s Conor McManus celebrates scoring a point against Donegal. Prepare for him to do  something outrageous – something that we had all only dreamt of doing in our time playing the game. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

There’s every chance we’ll see football in its best light over next few weeks in Super 8s

Dublin goalkeeper  Stephen Cluxton in action during the Leinster semi-final win over Laois at Croke Park. Photograph: Inpho

The inference around Dublin has always been Cluxton has never really wanted competition

In the past the FAI has tied its broadcast deals  for Irish international games to coverage of the domestic league. That’s just good business. You get to show the games that get the big audience, but you have to do us a favour too

Any redrawing of our competitions needs to recognise the levels of TV coverage

Galway’s Johnny Coen clashes with Lee Chin of Wexford during their All-Ireland Munster SHC encounter at Wexford Park. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

All-Ireland champions came charging out of the blocks and never wavered

Tipperary’s Donagh Maher with Aaron Gillane of Limerick. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

The team is young, big and has scoring threats, but it’s too early for bullishness

Mayo’s David Nestor and  Tomas Meehan of Galway in the Connacht Football Championship final in Tuam in 1999. Photograph:

Sunday will see both teams meet on a similar level for the first time in a long time

Crossmaglen’s Francie Bellew celebrating  the club’s victory in the Ulster club football  final of 2008. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Chance for youngsters to mix with peers from around the country proves invaluable

Cuala v Na Piarsaigh in the All-Ireland final:  Club games like  we saw last Saturday night can prove an an antidote to the increasingly overly-structured inter-county game. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Freedom of expression so evident in two classic Cuala v Na Piarsaigh clashes

Galway in  a huddle before the encounter with Dublin. Some of the team’s greenhorns could do with  more testing games than  Division 1B can provide. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

Low-key start to All-Ireland defence could come back to bite champions

Derry’s Johnny McBride  is tackled by Offaly’s Colm Quinn during the National Football League final of 1998. Photograph: Patrick Bolger/Inpho

Division One finalists in 2014, the Oak Leaf men could soon be bound for Division Four

Players are willing to be amateur but they are less willing to accept amateur preparation and training techniques.  Photograph: John McVitty/Inpho

Threre’s been a change of priority in the association – where is it going to take us?

The Dublin v Mayo women’s All-Ireland final attracted a record crowd of 46,286  to Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Fixing double bills of men’s and women’s football another step in right direction

Michael Fennelly: on his best days the Ballyhale man was a force of nature on a great Kilkenny team. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Injury problems ensured both men’s brilliance could never be taken for granted

Moorefield veteran Ronan Sweeney celebrates after his club’s sensational comeback against St Loman’s in the Leinster club football final at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise. Photograph Ryan Byrne/Inpho

It was difficult not to share in the joy of Ronan Sweeney and gallant Moorefield

Con O’Callaghan scores an early goal for Dublin in the All-Ireland final victory over Mayo at Croke Park.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Con O’Callaghan is deserving but GAA’s lack of world stage will probably rule him out

Carnacon’s Cora Staunton with Cathy Ann Stack, Ciara O’Sullivan and Ellie Jack of Mourneabbey. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Aussie Rules has a lot to offer the 35-year-old, and she will bring leadership to her new club

Alan Dillon celebrates Mayo’s win over Dublin in 2012. He served the county with great distinction over a long career.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Mayo stalwart bows out while Wicklow’s James Stafford is tempted back to the fray

Pauric Mahony:  must have felt that he had slain every demon of self-doubt in his body in the last four months only to experience a dreaded off-day in the Munster club final defeat to Na Piarsaigh. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Every game you are relied on to provide points but not every day can be a good day

Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton. He is playing on perhaps the best team to have ever played the game – he’s not that busy for large parts of the season. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The relationship with one’s county team can often be more conditional than that with a club

Corofin players celebrate their five-in-a-row success in Galway. But only one of the team started for Galway against Mayo in June. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

It takes a lot more than ‘best club’ status for players to make the cut at intercounty level

County boards should never unduly hasten their county championships to facilitate those nine or ten clubs who care about what comes next. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Semi-final played on a Wednesday night in October – with the final set for four days later

Pat Gilroy: it won’t surprise anyone to see the Dublin hurlers improve massively over the next three years. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

New Dublin hurling manager the sort of guy you’d be proud to have as your clubmate

The Dublin-Mayo women’s final attracted a record attendance of  46,286 – but the women’s wing of the GAA can still run their house better. Photograph:  Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Record crowd shows potential for growth is huge in both women’s football and camogie

Dublin’s Brian Fenton  with the Sam Maguire. Dublin has had a massive population advantage  since the GAA was founded. To use that  to split up Dublin now is disingenuous in the extreme

If population is the only ingredient how has anyone else had a look-in since 1884?

Referee Fergal Horgan sends off Waterford’s Tadhg de Búrca during the All-Ireland quarter-final against Wexford. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The game, both teams and the player deserve quicker result from slow disciplinary process

Roscommon celebrates as Ciaran Murtagh lifts the trophy. The sheer Roscommon-ness of last Sunday is hard to overstate. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

They lived championship history against Galway while Waterford overcame theirs

Dejected Westmeath players following the heavy Leinster semi-final defeat  to Dublin in Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

If weaker counties want meaningful football in July and August then it will happen

The moment relegation was avoided in the league, Waterford’s  preparations for the Munster semi-final on  June 18th began. Photograph: Inpho

The laser focus on that first championship game is now needed for the next day out

Galway’s Shane Walsh celebrating the Connacht semi-final win over Mayo last year. Photograph: Loraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Tribesmen aiming to show great rivals Mayo they are a genuine top-tier football force

Dublin fans in Nowlan Park for the Leinster senior football quarter-final against Laois last summer. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Moving the fixture to Portlaoise to facilitate Dublin season-ticket holders is misguided

Cork’s defeat of champions Tipperary has blown the hurling championship wide open. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Route to glory for the likes of Waterford and Galway now significantly altered

New York’s Shane Hogan beats Sligo’s Cian Breheny to the ball during the Connacht championship first roound clash in Gaelic Park in the Bronx. Photograph: Andy Marlin/Inpho

Sligo manager Niall Carew himself had talked up New York before Connacht clash

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald gets involved in an on-field  altercation with Tipperary’s Jason Forde during the National Hurling League semi-final at Nowlan Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Irish President was removed as patron of association for going to soccer match in 1938

Galway’s Damien Comer tries to escape the clutches of Fermanagh’s Barry Mulrone at  Brewster Park. Galway can seal promotion to Division One with victory over Kildare. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Presseye/Inpho

Several teams facing promotion/relegation issues on a potentially nerve-wracking day

David Fitzgerald, now Wexford manager, at the launch of the Allianz League. People felt his reign in Clare had come to a natural end. Photograph: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Life after Davy Fitzgerald should be intriguing as Banner seek to prove themselves again

Mayo News GAA podcast hosted a show  which itself was celebrating 10 years of the ‘Mayo GAA blog’, run by the indefatigable John Gunnigan.

Podcasts dedicated to the struggles of one’s own county find a ready and willing audience

GAA director general Páraic Duffy at the launch of his annual report. Photograph: Donall Farmer

Players want more games and aim of any championship is to produce worthy winner

The presence of Davy Fitzgerald on the sideline for Wexford helped bring out a big crowd in Gorey, where UCD were the visitors. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

The phoney war has started so don’t blame supporters for a bit of wishful thinking

Tipperary  captain Brendan Maher during his time with the Adelaide Strikers in Australia whom he joined for two weeks in an episode of the ‘The Toughest Trade’

Former Mayo managers would have been better served by not opening can of worms

 CJ Standers wears the number 24 jersey in tribute to the late Anthony Foley for the province’s European  Champions Cup match against Glasgow at Thomond Park in October. Photograph: Inpho

Tragic death of coach Anthony Foley is the moment season changed for the province

If the lines of communication from club to county board to central council to Congress were working, there wouldn’t be any need for a Club Players Association.   Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

The democratic nature of the association is a myth as most good ideas wither on the vine

 Dr Crokes captain Johnny Buckley and Man of the Match Colm Gooch Cooper celebrate winning the Kerry County Championship at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney. Photo Don MacMonagle

Exploits of the humble club player likely to be captured for posterity on social media sites

Mayo fans show their tension near the end of the replayed All-Ireland final at Croke Park. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Another shattering final defeat almost too much to bear for Mayo’s loyal faithful

We have the prospect of the game’s two best teams, with the two most rabid, noisiest fan-bases, under lights, with it all on the line.

Clash of Dublin and Mayo under lights, with Sam Maguire on the line, promises to be special

The 1991 All-Ireland winning Down team at Croke Park this month. Photograph: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

It’s a powerful thing that on All-Ireland day the winners from 25 years before are presented

TipperaryJohn O’Dwyer celebrates scoring against Kilkenny in the All-Ireland hurling final. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Tipperary hurler should take criticism with a pinch of salt like world number three

Waterford’s Tadhg de Burca and Kilkenny’s Colin Fennelly. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Putting Kilkenny to pin of their collar sadly doesn’t guarantee success next season

Jarlath Fallon of Galway keeps possession despite the attentions of Roscommon’s Damien Donlon during the Connacht final in 1998. Photograph: Inpho.

Former goalkeeper Derek Thompson hopes Roscommon can return to winning cycle after he broke it in 1998

Galway’s Thomas Flynn celebrates with Damien Comer after scoring the winning goal in the Connacht football semi-final againt Mayo. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Galway will be disappointed if they don’t back up surprising win with Connacht title

It was apparent that to abstain from drinking would quickly make spending any time with Irish fans nigh-on intolerable. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

At Euro 2016 the crowd is different and the buzz too. Drink as a concept was everywhere

The New York skyline in the backround during a game at the Gaelic Grounds. Photograph: Ed Mulholland/Inpho

Galway hurler ready to assist his adopted city’s footballers against Roscommon

 Kilkenny captain Lester Ryan lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup after the All-Ireland hurling final replay win over Tipperary at Croke Park. Photograph:  Ryan Byrne/Inpho

All-Ireland winners show that specialists continue to rule the roost at the highest level

Donegal’s goalkeeper Paul Durcan gets above  Eamonn McGee and Kerry’s  Kieran Donaghy to clear the ball during the All-Ireland Football Final at Croke Park. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Goalkeepers suffer fate of having no control over redemption following errors

 Kerry manager Eamon Fitzmaurice. Photograph:  Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

‘We’ll willingly make heroes out of their biggest spoofers, because they’re so damn charming’

 Kerry’s David Moran and Seamus O’Shea of Mayo in action.  Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Watching the Morans, Ogie and David, last Saturday offered a moment to gladden the heart

 Keith Higgins of Mayo tracks Kerry’s James O’Donoghue at Croke Park last weekend.  Photograph: Donall Farmer / Inpho

James Horan’s side will have to play to their strengths to topple James O’Donoghue and Kerry

 Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan celebrates scoring his side’s second goal. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Winning and losing is not about the grand gesture but a thousand smaller things coming together at the right time

Dublin’s Cian O’Sullivan and Bryan Cullen close down Donegal’s  Michael Murphy during the 2011 All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Kilkenny hurlers and Dublin footballers keep moving things on in search for perfection

The    gorgeous piece of skill from Shane Walsh for his first-half point spread like wildfire on social media.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Young Galway forward improving by the day ahead of Croke Park clash with Kerry

  Conor McDonald in action for Wexford in an Under-21 match against Dublin. He’s a player that gets supporters excited. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Wexford’s journey through the summer has been an enjoyable one to follow amid growing levels of excitement

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte is surely contemplating how he will know when his tenure should end. Photograph: Andrew Paton / Inpho / Presseye

Tyrone manager’s legacy already written thanks to success comparable to the greats

 Colm Cooper’s role with Kerry has been embraced by James O’Donoghue. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Shefflin, Cooper and Neymar cast long shadows from which fledgling heroes must emerge

 Mayo manager James Horan (left) and Gavin Duffy (centre) along with Mayo players at Dr Hyde Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Moving from a professional to amateur environment and swapping one sport for another is a tough remit irrespective of ability

 Joe Canning celebrates scoring a late penalty. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

In two codes Galway offered some great things, and also exposed some of the same old problems

Waterford goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe charges down Anthony Nash’s penalty during the Munster SHC  quarter-final replay at Semple Stadium.  Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Faux bravery will remain but risk of serious injury in hurling needs immediate action

 Tipperary’s Thomas Stapleton contests possession with Donal O’Grady and Kevin Downes of Limerick. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Babs Keating’s assertion that Tipperary were soft caused a huge uproar prior to the game against Limerick

Donegal goalkeeper Paul Durcan celebrates with his  captain Michael Murphy after the final whistle at Celtic Park.

Faced with a Derry team that hold onto the ball for longer than a Led Zeppelin back-catalogue, Donegal manager Jim McGuinness cut (...)

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