The provincial club championships are now well underway with plenty of action yesterday. Two fixtures of note (well, they're the two that I'm going to note) were those involving Ballina Stephenites and my local club here in Dublin, St Vincent's.
Ballina made it through to the Connacht final but their 1-8 to 1-4 win over Sligo champions Tourlestrane sounds like it was a laboured enough affair, whereas reigning Connacht champions St Brigid's of Roscommon were in sparkling form as they saw off Killererin by 4-10 to 1-11. Goals win games, goes the old cliché, and Brigid's banged in two more than they needed to see off the Galway champions. It'll be difficult to see Ballina stopping them. It'll also be difficult for colour-blind individuals (of which I am one, dear brethren) to gauge what the hell is going on, as both of them sport the red and green. Getting teams to wear kit that allows poor saps like me to instantly tell them apart hasn't - well, not since colour TV became widespread - been much of a priority for the GAA in recent years (Kerry v Mayo in their first choice strips, Cork v Mayo likewise. Hello? Anyone at home?) but, with this one, they'll have to do something. Expect to see one of the clubs being forced to wear the local U14s kit in the final when, at the last minute, the lights start to come on.
The essential amateurishness at the core of the GAA was also nicely illustrated yesterday when two of the Leinster matches finished in draws but extra-time was only played in one of them - the Moorefield/Dromard clash - because the ref in the St Vincent's/Seneschalstown match wasn't aware that extra-time would have to be played in the event of a draw. The other match ended in a draw after extra-time anyway so it all worked out grand in the end, didn't it?
Vinnie's had a tough match with the Meath champions - no surprises there. Diarmuid Connolly and Mossie weren't up to much (are they ever?) and it took their two Mayo lads - corner-forward Brian Maloney and half-back Pat Kelly - to help dig out the draw. It was Kelly, who knocked over a delicious long-range effort right at the end who saved their ass and he had a cracker by all accounts, scoring three points from play. Mayo could do with a few more options in the half-back line and Kelly, one of the forgotten men in Mayo footballing circles, could well prove to be one of them.