Seamus Duke On Sport – 9th September

Tipp primed to take over the Catwalk

I have to say that I wasn’t that excited at the prospect of looking at Kilkenny and Tipperary in the All-Ireland hurling final last Sunday. Both sides have won a bagful of All-Irelands and the general lack of interest was borne out by the fact that there were any amount of tickets available for the game last week according to several people I was chatting to in Dublin.

  Having said all that, I really enjoyed the final. The first half was tit for tat and some of the scores were out of the top drawer. Tipperary pulled away in the second half and Seamus Callinan gave a master class of point scoring.

  It was good to see a new winner but remember that Tipperary last won an All-Ireland only six years ago so it is not exactly the end of a famine. With the Tipperary minors also successful last Sunday, maybe they will now take over where Kilkenny left off which would be depressing news for Galway and Waterford and the rest. I would love to see teams like Waterford and Galway and Limerick make a breakthrough. The likes of Tipperary and Kilkenny always produce great games but it would be nice to see a new name on the Liam McCarthy Cup every so often.

  The RTE coverage of the game was top class as usual but I knew the minute that John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer used the ‘F’ word in his post match interview that there would be some po-faced commentators out lecturing the poor lad about bad language. The people who give out about these things obviously never played sport at any kind of high level at all.

  Seconds after a game, or a fight, or a race, the adrenalin is at full pace and the intensity of the sporting endeavour is still there for a good while after the game is over. If RTE or the BBC or any other broadcasting organisation want to stick a microphone under the noses of athletes or players straight after a game, or a race, or a fight then they can expect that to happen almost every time. The same happened with Michael Conlon at the Olympics. I do not condone what any of these guys said but I totally understand it and would not criticise them for it at all. If RTE and others don’t want to offend anyone then leave the interviews until 20 minutes after the game or event.

  It was a mixed year in the hurling championship overall which was saved by the two semi-finals and final. Hurler of the Year? Seamus Callinan must be the choice. His performance last Sunday alone was phenomenal. RTE match analyst Michael Duignan said that it was one of the all-time great final performances. That’s good enough for me.

Fergie time is up!

The news that Fergal O’Donnell and his selectors David Casey and Stephen Bohan have stepped away from the senior football team management has ignited more unwanted controversy in Roscommon GAA and as someone who not only has the task of writing about Roscommon GAA, but who is a life-long fan I find the current situation depressing.

  We all know that 2016 finished in very unsatisfactory fashion and questions needed to be answered by the management about what went wrong but the last thing I expected was that there would be resignations. Regardless of the ins and outs of the situation we have a good young team who are certainly not as bad as we saw in the last few championship games this summer. We are in Division One and have had several years of very good underage teams. Lessons could have been learned. But once again in Roscommon GAA politics have intervened and we are back at square one again.

  What is certain is that this situation will be sorted out and we will go again in 2017 but the question is, how long will it be until our next major row and controversy? Sadly in Roscommon GAA our record is not good in that regard. We will all have to take a major look at ourselves in the mirror if we want to make any progress. Expectations are far too high and we will have to learn to be less demanding. If we don’t learn then not only will there be no queue to manage our county teams there will be no queue for players to pull on the county jersey either.

Down to business in local championships

We are down to the business end of the local football championships now and there are some great games in prospect down for this weekend. It’s hard to beat knockout football and the true worth of many teams will be shown this weekend. The games are previewed in detail elsewhere in the sports section this week but hopefully we will see a high standard of play in the senior, intermediate and junior championships.

  In the hurling championship, Pádraig Pearses will have to up the ante considerably if they want to beat neighbours and old rivals Four Roads in the semi-final on the basis of what we saw in Athleague last Saturday evening. Oran will certainly be hoping to win the final although you couldn’t tell just how good they are after such an easy win against Roscommon Gaels last weekend.

Sad to see back of Justin

I was sad to hear that Justin Campbell had decided to step down as Roscommon senior hurling manager. The team made great progress under his management and he was a dream to work with and was so co-operative and friendly in his time at the helm and I want to thank him publicly and wish him all the best in the future.

José versus Pep round one!

It’s a sign of the approach of winter when we are talking about the Premier League but one of the biggest Manchester derbies in many years takes place on Saturday afternoon at Old Trafford. The arrival of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho and several top class players on both sides have added to the build up.

  United are rejuvenated under Mourinho and hopes will be that Paul Pogba can justify his massive fee with a top class performance against City. These games are generally very tense affairs and there won’t be a lot of free-flowing football. But it will be fascinating nevertheless. Both managers are ultra-competitive, never mind the players so sparks are sure to fly. A draw might be the best bet.

Honeymoon ends for Connacht Rugby

Memories of a fantastic season in 2015/2016 are well and truly gone now for Connacht after a forgettable start to this season last weekend when they were thrashed by Glasgow at The Sportsground. It was the heaviest home defeat that Connacht have endured since 2002 and they will have to get it going very soon as the big tests will come thick and fast now every single week.  

  Three Rossies started against Glasgow namely Jack Carty, Dennis Buckley and Daniel Qualter but it was a day to forget for all concerned. Connacht have a chance to put it right this Saturday with another home game against the Ospreys. It will be interesting to see how they react after what happened last weekend.

Championship Crystal ball

All-Ireland U-21 Hurling Championship Final Waterford v Galway on Saturday in Thurles at 5 pm: Both of these teams will be hoping to make up for losing in the senior semi-finals but this looks a serious Waterford outfit led by the brilliant Austin Gleeson. They have blown away all their opponents so far and I fear for Galway on Saturday. Prediction: Waterford

All Ireland U-21 ‘B’ final Meath v Mayo on Saturday in Thurles at 3 pm: Prediction: Meath

All-Ireland Camogie Finals on Sunday in Croke Park Senior Final: Cork v Kilkenny at 4 pm: Cork have ruled the roost at senior level in recent years and they should add another title to their long list on Sunday. Prediction: Cork

Intermediate Final: Cork v Kilkenny at 2 pm: Prediction: Kilkenny

Junior Final: Armagh v Carlow at 12 pm: Prediction: Armagh