Road to Croker: The value of a green flag never changes

No team outside the big three has won back-to-back hurling titles since 1988

Goals galore

Goals may be rarer than ever in hurling but Adrian Mullin's spectacular strike yesterday was crucial in dragging Kilkenny into extra time. Then again, Brian Cody knows better than anyone the value of a green flag against the Rebels in Croker.

In 1972, Cody captained Kilkenny to their first minor All-Ireland title in a decade, beating Cork in a match which also took place in the middle of the Olympics.

Kilkenny won by 8-7 to 3-9. Goalfests were nothing new that year though. Cork had beaten Antrim by 13-14 to 3-2 in the semi-final, Kilkenny beat Wexford 7-10 to 0-4 in the Leinster final while Cork were 4-11 to 0-3 winners over Limerick in the Munster decider.

Asked, post-match, what spurred Kilkenny on, the young Cody was in no doubt.


"It was [COACH] Georgie Leahy who laid it on the line. He told us to buck up or else. And we did just that."

If you were looking for four words to sum up Cody’s approach, “buck up or else” probably nails it. Goals may be disappearing but some things never change . . .

The Rossies

Shannonside Northern Sound commentator Willie Hegarty was on fire as his beloved Rossies made the All-Ireland Under-20 final. His description of a goal just before half-time was a classic of the genre.

"And now Roscommon find acres of space. If Robbie Dolan was a property developer, I'll tell you one thing, he'd build a flat of houses. But Down get a hand in - and Down are coming again!

“We have an atmosphere! We have a match! The lights are on in Kingspan Breffni.

"The full-back, Ryan Magill, in to Shealan Johnston. Will he go for a goal? Goal chance for Down. Ball back inside! Goal for Down!"


Standard rising

Down hurling manager Ronan Sheehan made an interesting point in an interview with the Irish News.

“The standard of hurling among the different tiers is definitely improving. Go back 10 years, there’s no way you’d have seen a team in the Lory Meagher scoring 20 points; now you are seeing it regularly,” he said.

Sheehan was right. In 2011, one team breached the 20-point mark in 10 matches. This year, five managed it in eight games.

For comparison, in 18 Liam MacCarthy matches this year, there was only one (Dublin v Galway) when neither side hit 20 points and in almost every other game, both did.

‘Revolution Years’

Hurling's 'Revolution Years', brilliantly documented in the book of the same name, charted the uprising of the likes of Offaly, Clare, Wexford and Waterford hurlers in the 1990s.

Prior to then, there had never been a three-year period without one of the ‘big three’ of Tipperary, Kilkenny and Cork winning an All-Ireland.

For all that it was hurling’s most egalitarian era, however, no team outside the big three has won back-to-back titles since Galway in 1988. Could Limerick buck the trend?

Quote of the week

Jaysus, a man landed on the moon since we last won. 1968. Yessssssssss

The official Sligo GAA twitter account revels in their Connacht MFC triumph.

Numbers game

30 - The number of points the Tyrone minor footballers beat Fermanagh by in the Ulster semi-final. And the Erne boys had a win under their belts already!