THE GAA fraternity up and down the country received a massive lift recently with the return of GAA training at underage and club level, as well as the resumption of games on our TVs every Saturday and Sunday from now until the end of the summer.
It’s fair to say there is now light at the end of the tunnel for GAA and sport lovers in general. It’s an absolute pleasure to pass pitches populated by players every might of the week socialising, exercising and, most importantly, enjoying themselves. Physically and mentally, it is a vital outlet for underage and adult players alike and resembles every day life as we know or knew it prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the last few weeks, we have witnessed the return of intercounty action in football and hurling. The only thing missing was supporters, which will hopefully return to county grounds later in the summer and just in time for Championship football. I do feel the tempo in games is not the same without the partisan atmosphere that passionate Gaels bring to the terraces.
The major talking point in the early weeks of the season in hurling quarters has been about the stop-start nature of games and how games are being referred. Former Kilkenny star, Jackie Tyrell spoke very passionately on The Sunday Game about his fears for the game and where it may potentially end up if it continues to follow the current trend. The most enjoyable thing about watching hurling was always the free-flowing, hard-hitting and end-to-end pattern that has seemingly given way to a whistle-happy environment. It will be interesting if the highlighted and high-profile criticism will have any affect in the coming weeks and whether or not more is let go.
The Allianz National Football League returned with the mercurial talent that is David Clifford stealing the show as he bagged a remarkable hat-trick for Kerry against a hapless Galway side. The Tribesmen have been dreadfully out of form since the early part of the 2020 league, but take nothing away from The Kingdom who were silky smooth and glorious to watch with Clifford capping his trio of goals with a delightful piece of footwork that even the great Lionel Messi would be proud of.
Despite not being at full strength, the six-in-a-row All-Ireland Kingpins, Dublin, looked sharp and scarily good. Efficient as ever, Dessie Farrell shuffled his deck with Cormac Costello showing his worth with 1-10 on the day and ruthless display of place-ball kicking that put Roscommon to the sword. The concern for me was that the ‘Rossies’ played well and still could not get within any sort of striking distance to the all-conquering Dubs.
It may only be the second round of the league, but it already feels that league meeting between Dublin and Kerry (above)—which ended with honours even in a 4-9 to 1-18 draw—suggests that they might be the two teams who will battle it out for the Sam Maguire come August.
Davy is a sport and GAA fanatic from Meath and keen footballer for his local club, Cortown GFC, located just outside Kells. He is also the co-host of the We Are Meath podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @Davy_Rispin