Clash of the cash! Why I feel sympathy for the Kerry hurlers

Our man Frank on the plight of the Kerry hurlers; self-driving lorries; and the need to address the state of Gaelic football at inter-county level…

Kerry has long been known for its beautiful scenery – the Lakes of Killarney, the Dingle Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry, the Gleneagle Ballroom, Listowel Races – and then there’s the Kerry footballers, with legends like Mick O’Connell, Mick O’Dwyer and Jack O’Shea – amongst hundreds of others. But seldom, if ever, do you hear of the hurlers who represent the Kingdom.
And yet in the last couple of weeks, they have finally made the national papers – although not solely for their hurling prowess. The first thing that happened to them is that they couldn’t get any affordable hotel rooms in Dublin for when they’re due to play in the Joe McDonagh final against Antrim next month in Croke Park. Two hotels quoted them €13,000-€15,000 for one night for a party of 45 or so people, while families of the players were asked up to €1,100 for a room. Sadly, as a result of the exorbitant prices, the team, mentors, and supporters will be travelling home to Kerry after the game.

It seems that in every aspect, our hospitality sector is once again doing the best they can to price themselves out of the market, as the cost of car rentals has also gone through the roof. CNN News Correspondent Donie O’Sullivan, also a Kerryman, was quoted €1,957.60 for less than a week’s car hire of a small two-door VW, while another tourist told Liveline last week that he was quoted €3,000 for a Ford Focus for two days.

The sector blames the effects of Covid and rising inflation, which has resulted in a shortage of cars. Maybe they are right, but whatever the reason, lots of potential tourists are cancelling their plans for Irish holidays this year.

However, the price of hotel rooms is not the only misfortune to hit the Kerry hurlers, because remarkably, if they win the Joe McDonagh Cup, the prize for them would be different to Antrim’s if the latter county were to win. Should Antrim win, they automatically qualify for a tilt at the Liam MacCarthy Cup by playing in the Leinster Championship. Poor Kerry however, even if they win, would have to beat Tipperary in a play-off game to get into the Munster Championship – and that could never be allowed to happen.

In all my life I have never before heard of a situation where the prize for getting to a final was different for the two teams. No matter how you look at it, it cannot be regarded as being fair.

And so, after a few weeks in the limelight, let’s hope Kerry hurlers get fair play from the powers-that-be in Croke Park. If they beat Antrim and win the McDonagh Cup, let them get the rewards their efforts deserve, and the opportunity to have a crack at winning the All-Ireland.

 

Coming soon…self-driving lorries!

A few weeks ago I wrote about the huge changes that have occurred over the years in the machinery field, and indeed in the world of social interaction with children. Well, a reader got in contact to tell me about the self-drive lorries that are being tested out in America; apparently when they get all the paperwork sorted, these lorries will drive themselves with no human input – and as a result, they can actually stay working 24 hours a day, every day.

The tachograph will be a thing of the past, drivers will not be necessary (although I imagine there will be a need for helpers to load and unload these trucks), and haulage companies will be able to work around the clock. He also tells me that there will soon be similar self-drive cars on the road, and that drink-driving will be a thing of the past. You could have as much to drink as you like – you won’t be driving. As the car drives itself, there with no human input whatsoever.

I have no idea how insurance will work, but when the cars eventually take to the road, I’m confident the insurance companies will come up with some way to keep on getting huge sums of money from the long-suffering public.

Now I’m sure the price of these self-drive vehicles will be prohibitive, so the price list that a reader sent me of cars in 1970 makes interesting reading. The Ford Escort was £897, Cortina £1007, Capri £1,151, and all the popular cars were from £775 (Mini) to the Capri at £1,151. The most expensive car was the Jaguar XJ6 at £3,026, but I don’t remember too many of them around Creggs.

 

It’s high time the state of Gaelic football was addressed!

Changes occur in all area of life, but in all my years I don’t think I have ever seen as much detrimental change as that which has occurred in Gaelic football this week.

The Ulster final brought negative football to a new low, and while it was a great win for Derry after 24 years, for all of us who tuned into watch, it was a mind-bogglingly boring game. I never thought that I would turn off a GAA match after only a few minutes to watch a soccer game between two teams I had no interest in (Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield), but that is what happened – and I am told that I made the right decision.

Apparently it was a game that brought boring to a new level. Surely now the time has come to tackle the way the game has gone.

Thankfully the large crowd in Salthill were treated to a more exciting open contest, although still dominated by massed defences. At least Galway and Roscommon tried to go forward at pace on a number of occasions, and while Galway were well deserving of the win, the Rossies put in a storming finish and could easily have got away with a draw.

The Barstool Boyos (page 2 every week) were wondering last week as to how I saw the game going, and the truth is that I put a small wager on a double draw, along with Derry and Donegal. The Ulster part came up (in normal time), and in the end all that separated the two Connacht neighbours was the kick of a ball.

And so a weekend that was so full of promise on the Gaelic football scene, with all four provincial finals being played, turned out exactly as I predicted –complete non-events in Munster and Leinster, a typically dull Ulster final, and one game worthy of a provincial final.

Where the game of football goes from here is hard to know, but one thing is certain – for the Dubs, winning Leinster no longer means a thing. All I can say is something must be done, or attendances at games will dwindle away. Maybe when the people start to boycott inter-county matches and income dries up, action will finally be taken to save one of the best field games in the world.

 

And finally…

As the town of Uvalde tries to come to terms with last week’s horrific mass shootings, it seems that nineteen armed police stood in the school hallway and did nothing for more than an hour while an armed gunman murdered nineteen children and two teachers.

How or why that happened is not yet clear, but it is hard to believe that they could have stood idly by for 78 minutes while two teachers and nineteen pupils were shot dead. Some day the truth will come out, and it is unlikely to do anything but shame the nineteen armed police. I somehow doubt that any of them will be commended for bravery.

I never commented on Donald Trump while he was in the White House as he was such an idiot he didn’t deserve any comment, but his solution to the American shootings is to arm the teachers and train them in the area of armed defence. How anyone could think that would solve the problem beats me.