Road to Croker: Seán O’Shea likely to top scoring charts

On the north-west frontier, Part II; Blue Light says Mayo; quote of the day and more

O’Shea likely to take top scorer

It most definitely won’t be any consolation whatsoever, but Seán O’Shea from Kerry is unlikely to be surpassed as the top scorer of the 2021 championship, his 2-29 (35 points) from four games leaving him nine ahead of Darren McCurry from Tyrone. Not insurmountable, only unlikely nonetheless.

Top scorers football championship 2021

1 Seán O’Shea (Kerry): 2-29 (35) 4 games

2 Darren McCurry (Tyrone): 0-26 (26) 4 games


3 Ryan O’Donoghue (Mayo): 2-19 (25) 4

4 David Clifford (Kerry): 2-17 (23) 4 games

5 Cormac Costello (Dublin): 1-15 (18) 3 games

6 Neil Flynn (Kildare): 1-15 (18) 3 games

7 Conor McManus (Monaghan): 1-14 (17) 3 games

8 Darren McHale (Mayo): 3-07 (16) 4 games

9 Paddy McBrearty (Donegal): 1-13 (16) 3 games

10 Dean Rock (Dublin): 0-15 (15) 4 games

On the north-west frontier, Part II

The last time two new counties reached the football and hurling finals in the same year was 1943. Wartime restrictions bit after the Department of Supplies, unhappy at all of the special trains dispatched by the Great Northern Railway from Belfast for Antrim’s annihilation by Cork in the hurling final, limited football specials to just one.

Despite this, attendances during the war were buoyant and a near-record 68,023 attended the drawn football final between Roscommon and Cavan. Roscommon nervousness in taking chances was a feature of the first match. At one stage Cavan led by 1-4 to 0-1 but still needed a late free to get the replay. According to contemporary reports, the crowd thought there’d be extra time and Central Council wanted it but the teams refused.

The replay, two weeks later, was tempestuous. Cavan’s Joe Stafford, a goal scorer on the day, was sent off shortly into the second half. Referee Paddy Mythen from Wexford was punched to the ground by a Cavan player in injury-time, triggering a crowd invasion.

Somehow, the match resumed and the remaining few seconds were played before Mythen was escorted off the field by officials and Gardaí. Early goals from Frank Kinlough and Jack McQuillan had set the foundations for Roscommon’s first All-Ireland success, on a score-line 2-7 to 2-2.

Blue Light pub says Mayo

It must be 20 years - it is 20 years - since this correspondent ignored all reasonable advice and bought himself a house in the Dublin Mountains. Whatever about being frozen under for several months of the year, magnificent mountain watering holes such as Johnnie Fox’s and the Blue Light were no longer camel rides away, only a hardy little stroll.

Established in 1798, the current owners of Fox’s have strong Limerick connections, the result of the All-Ireland hurling final leaving them duly satisfied and content for the dark winter months to come.

The Blue Light has been serving mountain quarrymen since the mid 1700s, and the current owners have strong Mayo connections, evidence of which comes with the Mayo colours decorating the front of the pub and the essential high chimney pot.

Over those last 20 years, Mayo have contested and lost all seven All-Ireland football finals they have managed to make, Saturday about time it seems for the owners to be allowed make good on their promise should Mayo win. Pints are on the house…

By the numbers

13: Lucky for some and maybe not others - the number of years since Tyrone won their last All-Ireland senior football title in 2008.

Quote of the day

“Yerra, I’m not going there.” - Kerry football manager Peter Keane when asked if he felt aggrieved at Tyrone getting an extra two weeks to prepare for their All-Ireland semi-final. (He said just previous; “Obviously you set out with an overall plan at the start of the year and you have to deviate from it. We originally thought we’d have a three-week window. Then it was becoming a four-week window, then it became a five-week window.”)

Players of the month

Galway camogie’s Aoife Donohue and Meath footballer Vikki Wall picked up the PwC GPA Women’s Player of the Month Awards for August, while Limerick’s Cian Lynch and Kieran McGeary of Tyrone were Player of the Month award winners for hurling and football respectively.

It was the second month in-a-row the women’s awards are won by a Galway camogie player and a Meath footballer. Donohue was central to the Tribeswomen’s All-Ireland semi-final win over Tipperary at Croke Park and is getting ready for a showdown in the decider with Cork this Sunday.

Wall was a star for the Royals as they shocked Cork in their All-Ireland semi-final, coming from seven points down late on and eventually winning the game in extra-time - Wall’s performance in the All-Ireland final win over Dublin putting her in line for the September award too.