This year’s championship is the GAA version of speed dating – blink and you’ll miss it. It’s a complete joke.
According to last Saturday’s schedule, six football matches were played, all starting between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
One of these was a provincial semi-final between Sligo and Roscommon that was brought forward due to – wait a minute – a clash with Sunday’s Sligo races.
The local guards did not want both events to take place at the same time. great god
Maybe it’s the late jet lag after my last trip to New York, but I’m feeling moody this morning.
It took me five and a half hours to travel 3081 miles from New York to Shannon.
Two weeks ago it took me an hour to drive 400 yards out of MacHale Park in Castlebar.
35 minutes of that hour the car didn’t move at all, is that a world record?
Quirky or not, there are plenty of talking points from the Championship so far.
For now, let me say that Donegal only took nine chances out of 19 in the first half.
If you take away the Ballybofey factor I’m not sure Donegal is as good as we are or they think they are.
Galway were the better team in Castlebar against Mayo.
However, they held on to Mayo in the second quarter of the game and held on to the end after leading by six points in two stages of the game.
Is that All Ireland winning form from the Maroons? As for Cavan – well, her shooting stats were terrible.
They had one successful shot from six attempts in the first ten minutes.
And Cavan had seven of 18 exact ones in the first half alone. All vs. Antrim, a team from Division Three of the Allianz League.
I wouldn’t dream of a second national championship title in three years because of this performance.
For Armagh, that’s eight Ulster campaigns under Kieran McGeeney as manager and they’ve won just three games in that entire time – against Down, Derry and Antrim.
I tipped Donegal to beat them because I felt Armagh’s wins over Dublin and Tyrone earlier this year had a lot to do with being fitter than their opponents this season.
In fact, Armagh have lost four of their last five games in the league – and their top striker Rian O’Neill has struggled in those games.
He also had trouble asserting himself against Donegal. Put Armagh in the overrated bracket.
Their beginning forwards scored four points from the game. Do I have to say more?
I’m sorry O’Neill. He is clearly a gifted player and Armagh should plan his game around him but there is no plan.
The defense is a real mess. Armagh have two converted midfielders at full-back, Niall Grimley and Jarly Óg Burns. That’s great for going forward, but the pair can’t defend.
And the county indulges in a favorite hate of mine, the stray goalie. A cutting edge tactic of 2022 seems to be turning an outfield player into your goalie.
Armagh did this with Ethan Rafferty. Whatever Ethan’s ability to stop shots, he should have been able to get the kickouts right. But Armagh was destroyed in that area.
The media silence from Camp Armagh at the end of the game spoke louder than words. They knew they got it all wrong.
Which brings me to my good old friends in Mayo.
Yes, they are warriors. Yes, they never give up. Yes, they worked hard in Galway to the end.
But whenever I write about Mayo, and I’ve written a lot about her over the years, I’d like to use my old teammate Ger Power’s comment to an inquiring press ahead of an All-Ireland Final in the early 1980s – “Let me down for the same as last year guys.”
Because watching Mayo is like Groundhog Day.
If you look at Mayo, they’re a one-trick pony that runs powerfully from back to front.
Teams have now made it. Make Mayo run from deep, but when they’re 30 meters from our goal, we’ll put up a defensive screen – and force them to shoot accurately.
Not enough of Mayo’s players can shoot accurately and after that there’s no plan B.
There’s no target man inside, there’s no kicking game – and they don’t have the caliber of scoring up front needed to win big games against the best teams.
One example – in last year’s All-Ireland Finals – one in three Mayo shots were successful on points.
Against Galway, the Green-Reds converted 16 of 31 chances to score. This is the return of a junior club team!
The Mayo starting forwards scored six points from play, three of them didn’t finish the game and Cillian O’Connor didn’t score from play. Thanks to RTE’s Johnny Bradley for all these stats.
Which brings me to Mayo manager James Horan. It was only James’ second loss as manager of Mayo at the Connacht Championship, that’s a record from hell.
But every time I look closely at Horan’s tactics, I see a conservative, reserved manager who is slow to change.
Mayo has been made a lot by fielding more players than anyone in the last league.
But not a single one of these new players started in Castlebar.
It doesn’t say much about the trust he had in her. I don’t think Horan has any idea what his best XV is.
Armagh and Mayo now have a long wait to qualify.
But both teams now have a 50 percent chance of needing to beat both Dublin and Kerry to reach an All-Ireland final.
Suppose Dublin and Kerry win their provinces – and you won’t find many willing to bet against it.
A brief look at the football saga in Cork.
My information is that Cork footballers insisted they only play at Páirc Uí Rinn.
Cork footballers didn’t deserve to lose the rights to host a big game for the stupidity of booking an Ed Sheeran concert for Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the middle of the Championship.
But then Páirc Uí Chaoimh is no longer controlled by the Cork County Board.
The heavily indebted stadium is in the hands of a committee that includes GAA President Larry McCarthy and Croke Park Stadium Manager Peter McKenna.
Kerry made the concession on the basis that the game’s date was not moved.
The Kingdom always played the next Saturday night.
This isn’t undercooked like last year’s All-Ireland semifinals, where Kerry was set to play in one day and then found herself playing Tyrone two weeks later.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/gaelic-football/this-years-championship-is-the-gaa-version-of-speed-dating-its-a-complete-joke-41611162.html Pat Spillane: This year’s championship is the GAA version of speed dating. It’s a complete joke