Just another day when logic gets walloped in weird GAA world
Dublin supporters get sharp end of stick after late venue change to Carrick-on-Shannon
Dean Rock finds the net for Dublin against Roscommon in Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim, after the game was switched from Dr Hyde Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Sometimes it feels like you could power a small town on the GAA’s imperviousness to logic. The weekend’s doings in the hurling and football leagues threw up the usual haystack of anomalies and happenstance, the better to leave you wondering at how it all works at all, at all, at all.
In hurling, Cork somehow managed to stay in Division 1A despite stinking the place out for the first three months of the year. They beat Galway by 2-22 to 0-24 in Salthill in a game that was level six times in the second half. They were three points down going into the last eight minutes but late goals from Seamus Harnedy and Patrick Horgan turned matters on their head. Galway relegated, Cork walk away whistling from a crime scene.
“We’re probably just relieved,” said Kieran Kingston. “Today was no part of any great masterplan to lose five and win the last one, nothing like that. We got over the line so we’re just relieved. They played with heart and passion today and to do it consistently is the key. Not conceding a goal was a big ask and it played a big part. These defenders have been much maligned in various media forums and they proved themselves today.”
Their footballing cousins hadn’t taken a comparable sort of shellacking through the league, either on scoreboard or messageboard. And even when the final whistle went in their final game in Tralee, they were still in Division One despite a 0-20 to 1-12 defeat to Kerry.
But up in Castleblayney, Monaghan were coming and coming all through every one of five minutes of stoppage-time. It took a combination of full back Drew Wylie and corner back Colin Walshe to relegate Cork, a one-point win keeping Monaghan in the top division by the skin of the skin on their teeth. Cork go down despite beating Mayo and Monaghan, the first team to be relegated with six points since Roscommon in 2003.
Back to hurling, and the case of Limerick who can still win the league despite not winning promotion. Their 1-21 to 1-19 win over Dublin on Saturday night puts them into a league semi-final against Waterford, who came through a stern test against Wexford by 0-17 to 1-13. TJ Ryan had a right old cut at the “vultures down in Limerick” afterwards but in a world where his side can still win the league despite not getting out of Division 1B for six straight years, you’d think TJ would be offering up hosannas rather than fretting about the noise from the cheap seats.
They’re joined in the hurling semi-finals by Clare, courtesy of a 2-13 to 0-18 win over Tipperary in Cusack Park and Kilkenny, whose 6-20 to 0-14 win over Offaly was a reminder to everyone that logic not only still exists, it carries a damn big stick when it wants to make itself heard. The semi-final line-up reads Limerick v Waterford and Kilkenny v Clare, dates and times to be announced today.
Details of the football semi-finals will be similarly confirmed, with Dublin to face Donegal and Kerry to play Roscommon. For those worrying about another death by football match-up between the Dubs and Donegal, Rory Gallagher certainly gave the impression after the Monaghan game that they won’t be lying awake every night from now until next weekend worrying about it.
“Listen, we’ll be taking a few days off training this week. Regardless of whether we were in the semi-finals or not, that’ll be the plan. And we’re really looking forward to that time after the league to get a bit of work done. We made a conscious decision, because we’re out late, to try to up the ante after the league.”
As for the Dubs, they came through their final game of the league by beating Roscommon by 1-13 to 1-12. The game went ahead in Carrick-On-Shannon after an unforgivably late venue switch from Dr Hyde Park just four and a half hours before throw-in.
As anyone at the Mayo game in the Hyde last weekend could have predicted, the Roscommon venue was rendered unplayable by rain late in the week and the switch to Leitrim came after Dublin supporters had already left the city and 90 minutes after the only Dublin-Roscommon train of the morning had left Heuston.
The omnishambles feel of the day was only added to by the fact that some Dublin supporters were then charged €10 to board what were supposed to be free buses from Roscommon town to Carrick. To clarify matters, Roscommon GAA issued a statement last night stressing that the buses they organised were indeed free of charge.
“Following a full investigation Roscommon GAA can categorically state that no person was charged to travel on the complementary bus service provided by Roscommon GAA,” the statement said. “Roscommon GAA has, however, discovered that other people hired buses from Roscommon to Carrick on Shannon.
Just another day’s work in the wonderful, endearing, maddening world of our national games.