Sunday, August 26, 2007

Nothing but the same old story

The weekend’s not yet over and I’m already back at work and so with very little time to talk about today’s events at Croker where Kerry (yawn) qualified for their gazillionth All-Ireland final, overcoming the Dubs by two points.

Much-hyped it may have been but today’s semi-final was an ugly, ill-tempered affair, badly refereed by the incompetent John Bannon and largely devoid of any good football. Dublin were desperately disappointing, none more so than Ciaran Whelan who, despite his 6’4’’ frame managed to keep himself hidden for virtually the entire 70 minutes. Other key men, notably Conal Keaney and the Brogan boys, also failed to spark in the manner expected and overall Dublin played more poorly today than at any time previously in this year’s Championship.

Kerry, by contrast, were far better than in the quarter-final (no surprise there, then). While they had showed plenty of snarling aggression in that ugly opening 35 minutes (most of it embodied in corner-back Marc O Se who, amazingly, managed to avoid getting carded in the first half), in fairness most of it was a reaction to a number of late hits and verbals taunts meted out by De Boyz en Blew.

Whatever good football was played today was played by the Kerrymen. They opened and closed impressively in both halves and this was enough to give them victory on the day. In both halves, they ceded authority to the Dubs after blistering openings but while Dublin were able to overhaul them in the first 35 minutes, the 1-3 that Kerry bashed in early in the second half proved too much of a mountain to climb.

The Dubs did manage to reduce the deficit to a single point but Kerry then kicked for home, widening the gap to three before the Dubs reduced it to the minimum again but, tellingly, it was Kerry who got the final point to seal a two-point win. That close call against Monaghan in the quarters obviously stood to them today.

So too did their bench, where, once again, the two O’Sullivans came on and did damage against a tiring Dublin backline. The paucity of options on the bench available to the Dubs was shown by Pillar’s decision, following Kerry’s second half blitzkrieg, to send Ray Cosgrove into the fray. I ask you – Ray’s last good season for Dublin was in 2002 and he proceeded to prove the point that he had nothing to offer the game’s proceedings.

There’s little else to say about today’s match. Dublin underperformed once again on the big day, Kerry yet again had the greater hunger for success. There’s not all that much mystery, or, indeed, on today’s evidence, magic about how the big issues in Gaelic football are settled. That’s unlikely to change next month, where although the final offers some novelty in terms of line-up, the script is unlikely to prove original.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Up the Dubs!

All work and no play makes WJ a dull boy. Certainly one with no time to devote to putting down a few sentences about what goes on at the weekend. Not even. Two word. Ones, like. What a week but, hey, it’s over and The Match is on tomorrow so here’s a few quick thoughts about it.

Quick and short, I suppose it should be – after all, there’s no point in adding to all those acres of Dub porn that’s being peddled at us this weekend. Amidst it all, the King of Dub Porn himself, Tom will no doubt be positively tumescent with anticipation for the big day and the excitement of seeing his beloved Dubs getting . . . the bejaysus hammered out of them once again by the Kerrymen?

As a card-carrying Bogger, there’s a part of me that always want to see the Dubs getting it in the neck. As a kid, I revelled in Kerry securing the upper hand in the Seventies tussle between them and took cruel, visceral delight in how the Kingdom comprehensively thrashed the Dubs in ’78 and again the following year. Even in the Eighties, by which time I was living in Dublin, I was still glad enough to see Kerry maintain their dominance, mainly because by then I’d had my own first-hand experience of what the crowing, cocky Dubs supporters can be like.

A bit of that is still there, I have to admit, whenever the “national” media is in full flow, extolling the virtues of what has been for over a decade a very ordinary county side. But - despite all that and the other things that rankle, such as the squatter’s rights granted over Hill 16 to the blue horde, the at times sheer stupidity of their supporters who never bloody turn up on time, the fact that rarely if ever do they have to stir from Croker (and when they do, spend all the next day giving out shite to Joe Duffy about it) and, yes, Tom Bloody Humphries - I still want them to win tomorrow. Why? Because it’s Kerry they’re playing – my enemy’s enemy time again – and, of course, because my own three little Dubs will also be shouting vociferously for De Boyz En Blew.

Will they do it? I really haven’t a clue, unlike Liam Hayes on Newstalk yesterday evening, who confidently predicted that the Dubs would win by seven or eight points. That fairly set Bomber Liston huffing and puffing but he, of course, wouldn’t hear of a Kerry defeat and was adamant that Pat O’Shea would have all manner of nefarious Plans B, C, and D (a bit like the Cat in the Hat with all those other little scrawny moggies hidden under his chapeau) ready for deployment.

Dublin are certainly the most consistent side this Summer and they have already exceeded what I thought they’d do (I said that they’d crash to the first half-decent side they met – Derry were that side but the Dubs beat them handily). They’ve also got a very settled lineup, albeit one that still has ten survivors from the last time they faced Kerry, back in 2004 when the Kingdom won pulling up. But the changes made since the Meath game, notably with Bernard Brogan (there’s a name to make the Kerrymen sit up and take notice) and Mark Vaughan coming in, have given the team a better balance and their midfield of Whelan and Ryan is performing better than ever.

It’s noteworthy that both sides have roughly the same kind of positives and negatives. Both have good attacks, decent midfields and pretty woeful defences. Kerry’s attack has the capacity to be more lethal, I think, but their defence looks more porous than Dublin’s, with Tom O’Sullivan painfully uncomfortable at full-back. If Dublin tear into that flaky backline from the off and build up a bit of a lead, it might be their day.

The big fear I’d have for them is that Kerry always up their game for the semi and, as we’ve twice found out to our cost, they up it again for the final. The quarter-final is the perfect time to ambush them: Munster is no good any more, as Cork discovered last year. Instead, the blow has to be a knockout one and Monaghan (in more ways than one) damn near delivered it a few weeks back. But the Kerry that will take the field tomorrow will be at least 100% better tuned than they were against Monaghan and so the Dubs will need to be in a position to up their game accordingly too.

And, of course, Kerry will be aching to put on a show for the Hill and knock those cocky Jacks down a peg or three, like their forefathers did before them. And if they’re looking for any further incentive, they’ll want to book their place in the first all-Munster face-off for Sam. As ever, Kerry won’t be lacking in reasons for why they want to win.

I have a horrible feeling that Kerry will be well up for it, that the Dubs will jam in second gear, that the Hill will go all quiet just when the team need their “support” and that Kerry will ease home by four or five. Then again, maybe Kerry are as poor as Liam Hayes claimed they were yesterday evening and, if so, the Dubs could be celebrating their first championship win over Kerry in exactly thirty years. But I still reckon Dubs fans should make it their business to purchase a copy of The Sun today, as included with it is a free DVD of that classic 1977 semi-final win. Just in case . . .

Monday, August 20, 2007

Excuse me waiter, this Meath performance is Corked

I’ve been staying for the last few days in a jolly nice hotel in the Mid-West (Look up: it’s a whinge about Aer Lingus!) with the wife and chisellers but now comes payback, in terms of a week’s hard slog so I’ve little or no time to talk about yesterday’s match. I also have to come clean, lads (as they are wont to say frequently in these here parts), and admit that quality family time yesterday afternoon did not encompass live football action on the telly (llamas, yes, The Sunday Game Live, no – there’s no point trying to elaborate on this one so I won’t bother) but did get to jiyn Pett later on for the highlights on the Sunday Game.

Didn’t I say ages ago that Cork were looking good for Sam dish ear? (I did, I'm sure, but I can't find the damn link at the minute to prove the point). I know, I know, I abandoned them and went over to the Royals for yesterday’s match but it was a well-beaten path and, with James Masters crocked and Cork’s generally poor form in the two matches since the Munster final, you have to acknowledge that it did look the more likely outcome. However, the loss of Anthony Moyles – who has been outstanding all year – hurt Meath arguably far more than did the loss of Masters did to Cork. Moyles has been one of the main engines behind Meath’s revival and they didn’t look the same team without him. I don’t think it was a coincidence that, in his absence, Cork were able to run unchallenged through Meath yesterday.

1-16 is a good score in any game but to rack up a total like that in an All-Ireland semi-final without your star forward was a bit special. In the left-footed maestro’s absence, the other forwards – in particular, Donnacha O’Connor – stepped up to the mark perfectly, to the extent that it didn’t look as if the side missed him at all. The question now for Billy Morgan is whether or not his team has a better balance without Masters which, for a bainisteoir, must be the kind of problem you want to have going into an All-Ireland final.

Cork abandoned the me-too long ball game yesterday and reverted to what they’re good at, which is their fast moving, hard running style. As they’ve done all Summer, Murphy and Kavanagh completely bossed midfield and so Cork had all the possession they needed to run up a winning score, whereas Meath were attempting to survive on the proverbial scraps. Although Meath stuck with them fairly well in the first half, ultimately they were blown away by Cork’s relentless waves of attack. Cork’s goal, when it came, was a bit fortuitous - as Kevin MacMahon’s shot was deflected by Caoimhin King beyond Brendan Murphy and into the net – but it ended the match as a contest with only ten minutes of the second half played. In the end, Meath got completely beaten out the gate.

The main talking point last night (apart from the result) was how well Cork had out-Meathed Meath in the thuggery stakes, in particular the way in which Noel O’Leary poleaxed poor old Graham Geraghty. Now, as Sean Moran in today’s Irish Times points out, GG himself has evaded sanction all Summer – and, indeed, long before that - for landing sly belts (except, notably, when they occurred on the training ground) so it would be ironic were O’Leary to miss the All-Ireland for flooring the same gentleman. He should, of course, but, this being GAA-style discipline, there’s no question of this happening.

And so, we’re down to three – Cork, Kerry and Dublin. Jesus wept: why am I bloody bothering to write about this? As chance would have it, work is calling, nay, bellowing, so, for you Kerry v Dublin junkies, all I can do is refer you to this cogent as ever contribution from my fellow countyman, which, for De Boyz en Blew, makes for some chilling reading.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

And then there were four . . .

We're down to the last four in the hunt for Sam and I'm down to perhaps my last little bit of time to bash something out about Sunday's first semi-final, due to work pressures and travelling over and back across the country pressures and what-not. (I'm writing this holed up in a hotel room in Limerick. Here's a good Limerick one I heard today: The Mayor of Limerick is asked about the county's chances of lifting this year's hurling All-Ireland and he says he's not sure how it will go but reckons that Limerick will have good stab at it.) Okay, where was I?

The semi-final line-up isn't all that odd, I suppose, given that three of the quartet made it to this stage last year, while our place (yes, OUR place!) is taken this year by the resurgent Royals. It's even less odd when you factor in that Kerry and Cork have chuff all to do any year to get to the quarter-final stage, though Kerry have been made to work a little bit harder than usual this time around to reach the penultimate round. So too have the Dubs, though once they got past Meath they found the going much easier.

Although Meath are the new fresh-faced kids on the block this year, they're clear favourites with the bookies to beat Cork (or at least I'm nearly sure they are but I can't link to Paddy Power because they've installed a Nanny-knows-best blocking filter on their bloody in-house broadband service here at the hotel. I am over 18, guys, FFS). Cork certainly appear to have gone off the boil over the course of the Summer and it's now difficult to rate them as serious All-Ireland contenders (which probably means they'll paste Meath on Sunday). James Masters is a huge loss to them and while the young lad Goulding is a good replacement, Masters is the top scoring player to date in the whole championship so Cork will definitely miss him on Sunday.

With their strong backline and their formidable midfield, Cork should be difficult to beat but it's going forward where they've had their problems and unless they figure out some kind of coherent attacking plan, they're going to struggle. Cork don't seem to have figured out any kind of coherent tactics on this front, in particular how they play Michael Cussen and, more specifically, what kind of ball they put into him. With Donaghy - last year's original target man - being kept scoreless by Monaghan last Sunday, perhaps it's time for everyone to forget about creating Donaghy clones and Cork would, I think, do well to do so. Their best game - as exemplified in the Munster final - is a running one and while this kind of approach is difficult to execute in the wide open spaces at Croker, it's a tactic they need to employ more than they've done in the last two matches.

As I said the other week, Meath have, in the recent past, had the hex on Cork and with their good qualifier run topped off by that excellent quarter-final win over Tyrone, they'll go into Sunday's semi-final brimming with confidence. However, they have their own worries in attack because although Bray, Farrell, Byrne and Geraghty got some great scores the last day against Tyrone, they kicked some howlers too and they can't afford as large a wide account the next day against Cork.

I think this one could be very close but Meath's greater momentum might be enough to get them over the wire. If so, they'll be in the happy position of being able to sit back and smirk at the Dubs for a whole week before seeing whether or not they'll get to have a third round with their great rivals in September. I'm not sure it'll all work out like that but this is one for another day.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Those lovely ladies

It's remiss of me, I know, not to have said much to date about our ladies' (no, that's nor Our Lady's and it has nothing to do with the impending Knock Novena either) senior championship campaign. Unlike the lads, the girls have been beating before and behind them all Summer long and already they've claimed the scalps of Galway, Kerry, Dublin, Waterford and Monaghan. They beat the latter in monsoon conditions in Mullingar (how's this for a headline? "Mayo mná triumph in Mullingar monsoon". Not bad, eh?) on Saturday evening to reach the All-Ireland semi-final. An appearance in Croker on the fourth Sunday in September for the final itself is now starting to come into view. I'm not sure who they'll be playing in the semis - it could be Tyrone who walloped spots off Armagh in the other quarter-final played in Mullingar on Saturday evening.

Cora Staunton is having, even by her exalted standards, one hell of a season. 2-13 against Galway, 1-10 against Waterford, 0-9 against both Kerry and the Dubs and 1-9 the last night against Monaghan. Johnno, take note!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It’s Kerry v Dublin . . . but only just!

It’s the match that the so-called national media has been dreaming about all year. Like they were last year when only Mayo stood in the way of its consummation. Instead, we screwed the Dubs and then, for our pains, got well and truly screwed ourselves by the Kerrymen.

But that was then and now is now . . . and so, now, let the presses roll with all those acres of newsprint about days long ago when the players sported hair that was far too long and shorts that were the wrong side of skimpy and Micheal O Hehir’s foghorn-like tones ruled the airwaves. Yes, folks, its Kerry v Dublin time again.

But it very nearly wasn’t because both the Leinster and Munster champions faced – and eventually faced down – tough Ulster opposition this weekend at Croke Park, in doing so keeping the Northern province without representation at the penultimate stage for the second year in a row. The West, by the way, is absent from this particular party for the second time in three years.

While they both skirted with danger, it was the Kerrymen who came closest to hitting the ditch, as Monaghan looked to have their number for most of the seventy minutes today, only to falter at the death. The Dubs could – and, perhaps, should - have won comfortably yesterday but a dose of the wobbles in the last ten minutes cut their margin of victory to three points, with Derry missing a late goal chance that could have earned them a draw.

Having seen our lads being comprehensively hammered by Derry, I had hopes that the Oak Leaf lads might be capable of springing a surprise, even if they would have to do so amidst a steaming cauldron of blue. That was the big fear for Derry: having played in front of small crowds all year and having virtually no recent big-match experience in front of a capacity crowd at Croker - their 2004 semi-final was against Kerry, in a less than half full HQ – the big fear was that they would freeze. Or poo themselves. Or both.

This being a major cultural event in the city, I took my three little Dubs out for a reccie a few minutes before throw-in to let them see the colour and practice their Come on Yew Boyz En Blew in the open air (well, I let the windows down in the car). And what cultural delights we got to witness too, such as the imbibing of cider on the kerbside and the happy sight of thousands of blue-clad Summer-only supporters streaming - late again! - into their beloved Hill.

Back at base, we all settled down on the couch to watch the battle unfold and a good battle it was too. Both sides had decent forwards and dodgy enough rearguards so this factor, as well as the wide open spaces at Croker, made for plenty of chances at either end. Liam O’Malley would, no doubt, have been happy to see Paddy Bradley skinning somebody else and the Derryman’s point-taking was superb all day. For Dublin, the Brogan brothers (from play) and the peroxide Mark Vaughan, deadly all afternoon from frees, were doing the most damage. Conal Keaney, their best forward all Summer, was getting precious little change out of the excellent Kevin McCloy.

The Dubs took a two-point lead into the break and it was noteworthy that all of Derry’s eight points had come from play in that opening 35 minutes. It was also significant, and highly unusual, that Dublin were managing to stay in front without having to rely on goals. That they managed to win by three points without finding the net was, to quote that noted Dublin sage Joe Duffy, extraordinary.

It’s certainly the case that the Dubs look for, and hence rely on, goals to keep them afloat more than any other major county does. So often, Dublin forwards receive possession twenty or thirty yards out and, instead of taking the handy point, will put the head down and make bull-headed for the opposition’s goal. Sometimes it works but more often than not it doesn’t and so easy points go abegging.

I have a theory that this is all to do with the Hill, 90% of whom are probably Man United fans and whose knowledge of the niceties of Gaelic football is a little bit sketchy. Three quick points in succession will never rock their boat up on the Hill but, if De Boyz En Blew score a goal, all hell breaks loose. The team quacks probably have some bullshit psychology about feeding off the positive energy from the Hill so, to satisfy the beast, the lads go for goals when they should really be going for points.

Well, that theory worked well up till yesterday, when the Dubs racked up 18 points and didn’t need a goal to see them home. It didn’t stop them trying to get a few, mind, but they did nail plenty of good points from well out. What really caught the eye, however, was Mark Vaughan’s free-taking. Say what you want about him with his bleached blond hair and his white boots but his old-fashioned, off-the-ground place-kicking was absolutely flawless as he whacked over point after point. At least three were Fifties and one early one must have been nearly sixty yards out.

For ages, Pillar tolerated Mossie Quinn’s deplorable shooting (okay from within twenty yards but your proverbial grannie was better than him further out) and, if my memory serves me correctly, we had plenty of reason to thank Mossie’s wayward deadball shooting in last year’s semi. It was a problem crying, nay, screaming out to be sorted, something that only happened in the replay against Meath. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Dublin’s oft-cited failure to close out games hasn’t been much of an issue since then.

Derry ran out of puff early enough in the second half, especially after Stephen Cluxton’s two point-blank saves when Derry goals looked a certainty. Their failure to convert those chances and continued good point-scoring at the other end – even Jayo managed to knock one over from well out – put the Dubs well clear and heading for home.

It’s difficult to know what to make of the last ten minutes, which Derry virtually owned and during which they reeled the Dubs back in from seven to three points. Pillar seemed to be reverting to type at that stage – how many changes can you make in a minute? – and, suddenly, Derry were ripping through them with ease. They needed a goal and although Bradley did get to pull the trigger, Henry deflected his shot away to safety and with it went Derry’s remaining hopes of success. The Dubs were worth their three points margin of victory, I thought.

Not so Kerry, who, for the second match in a row could and should have lost. Once again, a poor refereeing decision helped them home, when Meath ref David Coldrick (is that fella trying to write his life story while reffing? He seems to spend all day writing notes in his book) failed to penalise Darragh O Se for a wildly dangerous kick in the midst of a tussle for a loose ball around the centre of the field. Instead, play was allowed to continue and seconds later Tomas O Se fisted over the winning point.

It was a victory Kerry didn’t deserve and a match Monaghan were desperately unlucky to lose. As I’d hoped they would, Monaghan tore into the champions from the off and showed scant regard for the general well-being of their illustrious opponents. The quarter-finals is the perfect stage at which to ambush Kerry – they’re still not in top gear and this year they had an unusually long lay-off after their jammy Munster final success. They were vulnerable and Monaghan proved this over the course of a flinty first half performance.

They would probably have been disappointed to go in level at the break, as they should have built better on Tommy Freeman’s excellently-taken penalty goal, but they continued to take the game to Kerry in the second 35 minutes. With less than 15 minutes to go, they were three points up and Kerry were looking in trouble. The high ball into Donaghy wasn’t working and the insecure Kerry backline was continuing to leak scores.

Declan O’Sullivan’s well-taken goal thirteen minutes from the end – which brought Kerry level - looked like the hammer blow from which Monaghan wouldn’t recover but they just dusted themselves down and proceeded to tack on two more points inside the next five minutes. But that was it: Kerry had brought on Bryan Sheehan (what other county could afford to have a player like Sheehan kicking his heels on the bench for an hour?) and he put over two crucial points from play before the cruel denouement of O Se’s winning score.

Maybe it was just as well Monaghan lost today rather than getting a draw as they would almost certainly have taken a comprehensive beating in the replay. They gave absolutely everything today and it would have been difficult for them to go out and do the same again in a replay, especially since the element of surprise would also have been missing. I’d say the Dubs were happy enough too with this outcome: they wouldn’t have been overjoyed to see Kerry get another game under their belts before the semi.

I know Big Fat Tom would have been a bit pissed off if he’d lost another chance to flog that book of his but Monaghan, even more so than in 1985, were hard done by today. Twice this year, Kerry have ridden their luck but, significantly perhaps, they’ve used up the full reserve to reach only the semi-final and they’ll have two more hard matches to win if they’re to retain Sam. I’m not sure that their luck will or, more importantly deserves to, hold all the way to September. Up the Dubs! (Yes, you did read that last sentence correctly).

Friday, August 10, 2007

Super Mac on the silver screen

He can't be thinking of retiring anytime soon after this little cameo, can he?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Cork and Meath set up semi-final showdown

So it’s Cork and Meath that have emerged from the Connacht/Ulster half of the All-Ireland series, with both qualifiers dumping out provincial champions to reach the penultimate stage. In doing so, they get to reactivate a significant rivalry of Gaelic football’s recent past, one that gave us two All-Ireland finals in the Eighties and another two at either end of the Nineties. This time the battle will be for a place in the final rather than for Sam itself, but, make no mistake, whoever emerges victorious from this scrap will be strong contenders in the final.

Poor old Sligo never showed up yesterday, which was a pity because their support certainly did. This being the holiday weekend and all that, I was on my way into town on de One-Tew-Tree with the wife and chisellers in the early afternoon and a good 80% of the colour around Croker was of the black and white variety. Sadly, once they got inside the ground, they had little to cheer about.

Sligo needed a good start if they were to have any chance but they left at home their Connacht championship form which had seen off Roscommon and Galway in style and, once John Miskella goaled for the Rebels, the game was up. A rally of sorts seemed to be on the point of bubbling up in the second half but Sligo really needed a goal at that stage to get back into it and that was never going to happen. In the end, Cork won with ease without playing at all well and Sligo’s championship campaign fizzled out far more tamely than their cracking Connacht form suggested it would.

Tame is not a word you could use to describe the day’s second quarter-final, between Ulster champions Tyrone and Colm Coyle’s born-again Meath. I was licking my chops in anticipation of this one from the moment the draw was made last Sunday and I wasn’t disappointed with the action. It was a cracking match and I was delighted that Meath – as I said they would – made nonsense of the ridiculous odds they were being quoted at to win this one (5/2, to be precise). This was always a match likely to produce an upset, with Tyrone lacking a few key players and Meath clearly a side on the up.

In the end, the surprise was that Meath didn’t win by more as Tyrone found themselves completely outplayed at Croker for the first time since we ambushed them at the same stage back in 2004. (They were down a few of their main men that day too). The goals from Canavan and Mulligan kept them in the game but their inability to keep a steady supply of points up meant that, faced with Meath’s free-scoring forward line, they were always going to struggle to make a match of it.

While it was the young guns such as Bray, Farrell, O’Rourke and Byrne that caught the eye in the first half, it was the two ould fellas, Geraghty and Fay, who shone in the second. Fay was almost able to repel on his own Tyrone’s offensive efforts in the second half and Geraghty struck the game’s decisive score when, put through with only John Devine to beat, he nonchalantly lifted the ball over the keeper’s head and watched it sail gently into the net. That ended, at a stroke, Tyrone’s comeback and put Meath back on the road towards what could be their first All-Ireland final since 2001.

I suppose they’ll now be favourites to beat Cork, given that their respective form appears to be heading in opposite directions. I’ve been disappointed with Cork since the Munster final and, if they play with the same leaden style as they’ve now done in their last two outings, Meath could well paste them. I read before yesterday’s match that, in this new post-2000 All-Ireland structure, Cork have yet to lose a quarter-final and that record still holds today but it’s also the case that they have yet to win a semi-final in this brave new world. (Okay, all three losses were to Kerry). More relevant, perhaps, is the fact that that old rivalry with Meath isn’t one that has always gone their way: over the course of those four finals they contested in the Eighties and Nineties (1987, 1988, 1990 and 1999), the Royals came out on top on three occasions. They could well do so on Sunday week as well.

One of the biggest cheers raised yesterday for Meath’s victory will surely have come from Cork’s near neighbours. Those cute Kerry hoors will now, with their Northern nemesis slain, be confidently anticipating their first back-to-back All-Irelands in over twenty years. They might well be right to do so but they still have a few hurdles to get over first and if it is Meath that lines up against them next month, they’ll certainly face a much tougher seventy minutes than we gave them last September.