The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good: allow me to say I told you so. Dave Bennett started today’s match against Tipperary – was Eoin Kelly injured or was this the reverse of the referenced jiggery-pokery with team selections so beloved of Justin McCarthy – and put in a flawless performance with the dead ball, one point from way out the field being particularly special. Surely he has to start in the Championship after this. Right?

The Bad: ruminating over what to say about the camogie match yesterday, I decided to keep it simple rather than commenting on events – again, you don’t want to be seen as pervy. So I have spared myself the embarrassment of pompously observing that I knew St Mary’s had it in the bag once scores were level at half time with the benefit of the strong wind to come in the second half. Waterford were only four points down at the break having conceded a slightly unlucky goal just before half time, but I was sure that this was a good place to be in with a huge wind advantage in the second half. I was, of course, wrong as Tipperary managed to win the second half too, with only some heroic goal keeping from Clinton Hennessy right at the end kept Eoin Kelly from making it embarrassing. I remember Ger Henderson, commenting in his capacity as a Kilkenny selector, on his team’s inability to make much of a first half gale in an All-Ireland semi final (I think it was 1999) and not really being bothered, reasoning that the wind can be a hindrance as well as a help, especially when it’s so blustery. This is fair enough, but Waterford barely made Tipp work for it today, and once they got four points up again having had the gap reduced to one midway trough the half thanks to Bennett, you could sense it was curtains for a team that didn’t threaten Brendan Cummins’ goal once during the game

The Ugly: Ken McGrath’s bashed-in pumpkin face. Only joking, Ken. Against Dublin, Dan Shanahan’s form was the source of a furrowed brow, but I reasoned that he’d come good for the summer. Against Cork, headaches ensued as he put in an anonymous performance. Today saw the onset of a full-blown migraine as he huffed and puffed to no effect whatsoever, yet still managed to stay on the pitch for 70 minutes, thus teaching us nothing about the forwards languishing on the bench. Dan still might turn it on for the Championship, but it’s hard to believe his form is like a tap. We’re going to need him to do Clare again if we’re to progress.