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The Galway senior camogie team heads to the capital on Saturday with high hopes of registering a win over a Dublin side that has yet to collect any points from their four games.
It’s a pity really that after three rounds of the National Hurling League the main talking point is not of the action but of the low attendance’s. Everyone has their own views as to why this is happening, some experts are blaming the Saturday night flood light games. This theory doesn't wash with me because the facts are that the biggest crowds for league matches this year in either code were for games under lights.
The path has been cleared for a repeat of this year’s historic Leinster senior hurling final in 2011 following last week’s draw for the GAA Hurling Championship.
A Saturday just after midday may not have the feel of championship football, but that’s what it will be for the Mayo minors tomorrow. After overcoming Roscommon, Leitrim, and Galway to claim their third Connacht title in a row, the next stop on the train is Hyde Park and meeting with Offaly. The midlanders were surprised in the Leinster final, where Longford put in a match winning display against a team who had beaten them by 22 points earlier in the championship in Leinster (which has a backdoor, unlike the Connacht championship). Mayo manager Tony Duffy has been working hard to ensure his side do not go into the game complacent after winning the Connacht title. “We’ve had three tough championship games so far, we beat Roscommon, Leitrim, and Galway by only a handful of scores each time. We may have been the better sides in those games, but it was always close enough that the lads knew it was championship football and had to concentrate all the time. They [Offaly] are a big physical side, I think they were caught on the hop in the Leinster final by Longford after beating them by 22 points back in April. I’m sure their pride has been really hurt by that defeat and that they’ll have one big kick in them to prove themselves and we could be the side on the end of that kick on Saturday. It’s about us being able to handle it and play our own game.”
Having made my way early to Croke Park last Sunday I headed to a local shebeen to pick up a spare ticket and a quick bevvy of course.
Back in 1998 Kilkenny supporters were getting edgy, we had gone through the longest barren spell in terms of winning Leinster championships. Five years had elapsed since the famous Bob O'Keeffe Cup had visited the Marble City.
The Cats may have been one of the last counties out of the blocks in this year’s championship, but when the time arose last Sunday they sent out a severe message to the rest of the contenders that they mean business again this year.
This years National Hurling League Final has received mixed reviews. Most people like myself thought it was a cracking contest between two of hurling kingpins, it was also a much needed boost for the code ahead of the championship. However, there seems to be a minority out there who think the game was too physical. Okay, a couple of tackles shouldn't have happened but these have been dealt with since. Eddie Brennan and Hugh Maloney received a months suspension each when the CCCC met last week. Both players will take it on the chin, simply because they wont miss a championship game.