Galway minors already showing huge promise
GALWAY have produced some terrific minor teams, but there looks to be something special about the one which takes on Kilkenny today. Jeffrey Lynskey’s side have won their three matches so far by a whopping average of 11 points.
The most impressive victory was a 3-22 to 0-16 destruction of highly-rated Leinster champions Dublin in the semi-final, while they’ve already scored a seven-point win over Kilkenny in the round robin quarter-final stage.
Players to look out for as they bid to make it three wins in four years are live-wire corner-forward Dean Reilly from Pádraig Pearses, who has notched 2-7 from play in his last two games, outstanding Gort midfielder Jason O’Donoghue, and dead-ball expert Donal O’Shea, son of former Tipperary manager Eamon, who has scored 1-27 in the championship so far.
Having lost to Dublin and Galway earlier on, Kilkenny scored a shock win over Munster champions Tipperary in the semis and their upset hopes may rest with brilliant Ballyraggett full-forward Jack Morrissey and O’Loughlin Gaels midfielder Conor Kelly who starred on this year’s All-Ireland-winning St Kieran’s College team.
IT seems like a long time ago now but there was some very good stuff played in the inaugural Joe McDonagh Cup which saw Carlow promoted to the senior hurling championship for next year. It’s a pity the competition seemed to get a bit lost in terms of coverage.
Carlow subsequently took a heavy beating from Limerick but runners-up Westmeath’s 11-point defeat by Wexford was an honourable effort. It certainly suggested that Offaly, who got a 24-point hammering from the Slaneysiders, don’t have much of a case when suggesting that playing in the 2019 Joe McDonagh Cup will be somehow beneath them.
Down the pyramid, wins for Kildare, Donegal and Sligo in the Christy Ring, Lory Meagher and Nicky Rackard Cups will provide some encouragement for those engaged in the noble and frustrating pursuit of trying to keep the game going in the frontier outposts.
FAIR play to the members of the 1,450 Club. That’s how many spectators were at the Gaelic Grounds when Limerick began their season by defeating Laois 1-25 to 0-18 in their opening Division 1B match.
It’s actually a smaller figure than last year’s average home attendance for beleaguered League of Ireland side Limerick FC. Galway’s attendance against Antrim in Pearse Stadium was a bit better, but 3,977 was low enough considering it was their first home game since winning the 2017 All-Ireland.
Those figures mean that an absolute maximum of slightly more than 5,000 Galway and Limerick fans have seen every one of their team’s games this season. I hope they all got tickets. The difference between the much-vaunted big summer crowds and the relatively paltry attendances at the start of the season seems a uniquely GAA thing. It’s as if teams open their season in the League of Ireland and finish it in the Champions League. I’d prefer a league match to a homecoming myself.