Championship Watch

Looking Back   Game of the weekend: Although there was only one major championship game (Meath v Cork) the best game of the weekend was the minor semi final between Galway and Kerry and Galway’s excellent display just goes to show how close Roscommon were at this grade this summer. Galway were lucky to beat Roscommon in the Connacht final and they were the deserved winners against an excellent Kerry team in Croker last Sunday. Next Sunday Derry play Laois in the other semi final and while I haven’t seen Derry in action, I suspect that we will see a Galway/ Laois minor final. In the senior game there was only one winner from a long way out and unlike many of the people in this business, I have no problem in admitting I got it wrong in the run up to the game. Meath were totally outclassed and now Cork can sit back and enjoy the fireworks next Sunday between Dublin and Kerry on the back of an excellent semi-final display.   Player of the weekend: Donnacha O’Connor of Cork has long lived in the shadow of James Masters who heretofore claimed most of the limelight on behalf of the Cork attack. However, in the absence of Masters, O’Connor was excellent as the Cork attacker-in-chief, scoring six points (four from play). In fact he could have had a dozen points as he kicked six wides too! Others to impress were Ger Canty and Nicholas Murphy for Cork and Shane O’Rourke who fought a losing battle for Meath on the day, but looks one for the future.   Talking point: According to the national papers Cork defender Noel O’Leary could miss the All Ireland final after he floored Graham Geraghty during Sunday’s game but I think that this would be most unfair. While I would never condone violent play, the referee dealt with the matter on the day. In fact it would be the irony of ironies if O’Leary were to be suspended for hitting Geraghty who himself got away with several such incidents earlier in the year against Dublin. Referee Brian Crowe issued a yellow card at the time – maybe it should have been red – but that should be the end of it.   Something to note: it’s a pity that Cork footballers have such a small following. I was talking to a man from Roscommon Town who was in Croker on Sunday and he told me that there were no more than two or three thousand Cork supporters at the match. They will turn up for the final though I suspect!     Looking Forward.   Bank of Ireland All Ireland SFC semi final Kerry v Dublin (Sunday in Croke Park at 3.30 pm) This is the game that everyone in the GAA wanted to see when the championship started this year. I think that a Dublin All Ireland win would be good for the GAA in general, but that kind of chat cuts little ice in Kerry. This is a very tough game to call. Dublin have looked ever so impressive at times this summer but in almost every game they have played they have lost the plot for ten or fifteen minutes and that’s what happened again against Derry in the quarter final. If they have a valley period against Kerry on Sunday they will be exiting the championship once again at the semi final stage. I am confident that Dublin have the forwards to win the game, but their defence is very shaky looking, and if Paddy Bradley had more help in the quarter final Dublin would be out by now. Kerry have not set the world alight either but despite they being very lucky to beat Monaghan, I get the feeling that they needed that game badly. I would love to see a Dublin/ Cork final but I don’t think it’s going to happen. If the Gooch, Donaghy, Mike Frank and the three Ó Sés play well, Kerry will get to another final and I think they will just be too good for the Dubs on the day. Prediction: Kerry.