The Kilkenny-Tipp game promises to be a cracker, with the absence of a second chance for the loser only adding to the weight of expectation on both sides. And don’t be surprised if Kilkenny lose for the second weekend in a row, another first of late if you know what I mean.
Dublin won’t get long to rest on their laurels. Their reward for beating the strongest team in the land is a Leinster final date with Galway at Croke Park this Sunday.
They deserve a huge support network to join them in headquarters for the match, but once again they will don the role of underdogs against the reigning Leinster champions.
Like every other side left in the championship, Galway know that Dublin did them a huge favor by knocking Kilkenny down a peg or two on Saturday night.
But their gratitude will be short lived once the whistle sounds on Sunday and the game is on. Saturday’s heroes can quickly become Sunday’s villains, such is the great game of hurling.
And that’s exactly why we love it here in Ireland. Someday soon, the world will love it as well.
(Cathal Dervan is sports editor of the Irish Sun newspaper in Dublin)
GAA: What a weekend for the London footballers as their win over Leitrim in the Connacht semifinal replay made headlines on both sides of the Irish Sea. It also caught the attentions of some very famous people. The Queen apparently has yet to react to an invitation to the Connacht final against mayo in Castlebar later this month, but London’s Lord Mayor Boris Johnson has responded. He can’t make the game but he did wish his fellow Londoners the very best of luck in their big match. As a mover and shaker at the London Olympics last summer, Boris might even have a word about getting Gaelic football onto the Olympic calendar in the future! . . .
SOCCER: Rod Stewart made a surprise visit to Cliftonville’s Solitude ground in Belfast during his Northern Ireland tour last week. A keen Celtic fan, Rod was delighted to see the venue where his heroes will soon play in the Champions League. Rumor has it he was presented with a Cliftonville jersey. I’d say he wears it well. Boom, boom.
RUGBY: If you have any interest in rugby stay up late on Friday night and catch the third test between the Lions and Australia live from Sydney. With the series tied at 1-1, it promises to be a cracker. It’s also the last time that Brian O’Driscoll will play for the Lions. And what a way to go!
SOCCER: Sad to report that Paul McGrath is in the wars again. He was arrested in Tullamore last weekend and now faces a court appearance. Paul’s problems with alcohol are well documented, and we can only hope and pray that he comes through his latest battle with his demons unscathed.
TENNIS: Roger Federer and Serena Williams have exited Wimbledon, but the hype lives on with Britain’s Andy Murray still in contention for the men’s title. As soon as he loses it, he will become Scotland’s Andy Murray once again.
HEROES OF THE WEEK
APOLOGIES to the London footballers, but the story of the week has to center on the Dublin hurlers and their Leinster SHC semifinal replay win over Kilkenny on Saturday night. It was the first time since 1942 that the Cats were beaten by the Blues in championship hurling which tells its own story. It’s also proof positive that good things come to those who wait. Those who invested so much in hurling in the capital in recent years got their reward last weekend, and richly deserved it was too.
IDIOT OF THE WEEK
FORMER county star Eamonn O’Hara made a big name for himself when he slaughtered Sligo boss Kevin Walsh on RTE in the wake of his team’s Connacht SFC defeat to London last month. Walsh finally did what O’Hara told him to do and resigned on Sunday, hours after the qualifier defeat to Derry. And O’Hara was very quick to rule himself out of the running for the job. He’s prepared to talk the talk, but he has no interest in walking the walk. Like all good telly pundits.