July Road: Irish county stars stars out to earn their stripes in the US

Down under starter’s orders in Malahide . . . Cody and Kilkenny’s number is up again . . . Cyril cuts to the point

With only four intercounty football matches left this season (including the Tailteann Cup final, and barring a replay), lovers of the Size Five who are keen for their fix of high-quality action could do worse than check out the live streams of some of the American club matches.

Dozens of footballers have made their way to the States on J1 sanctions in recent weeks, many of them county panellists. Monaghan’s Jack McCarron has gone to Philadelphia, as have Donegal’s Péadar Mogan and Tyrone’s Ruairí Canavan.

Dubs Paul Mannion and Shane Carthy along with former Derry player Ciarán McFaul will ply their trade in Boston but the depth of talent heading for Chicago is most eye-catching.

Mayo senior panellists Fionn McDonagh, Oisín Mullin, Paul Towey, Matthew Ruane and Eoghan McLaughlin, Armagh’s Rian O’Neill, Cork’s Seán Powter, Roscommon’s Enda Smith, Daragh McGurn of Fermanagh, Tyrone duo Michael McKernan and Conor Meyler and Down’s Ryan Johnston are just some of the big names heading for the Windy City.

Down players were under starter’s orders

Down’s Caolán Mooney is clearly not one for drinks bans. The Down footballer gave the background to the well-publicised ‘Malahide Affair’ involving the Mourne men a couple of months back.

Speaking to the Smaller Fish podcast, the former AFL star explained: “We’d played our match, we had a challenge match against Westmeath, the injured boys had done their rehab session that morning.

“We were staying in Malahide and we were watching the Grand National in the bar in the hotel. Boys had a couple of beers.

“You were sort of swinging that carrot in front of boys, can we, can’t we? If you’re [not] told not to, you’re in a group of grown men, you’re going to have a couple of beers.”

Could Cody and Kilkenny’s number be up again

Brian Cody’s longevity and sustained success is such that it has spawned a wealth of stats. For instance, Saturday marked his 22nd All-Ireland SHC semi-final as manager.

Kilkenny have won the Liam MacCarthy Cup in the last five years which ended in a 2, going back to 1972. Cody was manager in 2012 and 2002 and captain in 1982. In 1972, he captained the county’s minor side to an All-Ireland final win over Galway (8-7 to 3-9).

Interestingly, 1992 saw Kilkenny win the All-Ireland for the first time in nine years, which was their longest ever famine. They went seven years before Cody led them to the title in 2000; if they fail to win the final, the current famine will stretch to eight.

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Cyril Farrell had the line of the week. At an OurGame.ie chat night, Farrell related a story about his Galway side playing Offaly. Pat Delaney (“he wasn’t too careful where he was pulling”) was at centre forward and Farrell sent Michael Coleman to mark him.

“Michael had left hand on top. Delaney was pulling and Michael was pulling and sure in the name of the God almighty, it was like a county council cutting briars on the road.”

Quote

“A box is a decent thing, almost.” – Former top ref Pat McEnaney slams gouging and spitting in Gaelic games.

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The number of points that Offaly minors were winning by after 61 minutes of their final against Tipperary.