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Friday 15 December 2017

Roche's Point: The Cats stir but Walsh's West still asleep

brian cody
brian cody

AFTER the six hours-plus of sustained melodrama that was Saturday's Six Nations climax, the GAA was always going to be playing second fiddle to its egg-chasing counterparts on the weekend just gone.

And yet, Sunday wasn't without its strange twists and turns - epitomised by the fact that the eventual winners in all three Division 1A NHL clashes were behind at half-time and likewise with Limerick in 1B, plus Laois and Roscommon in the two rearranged NFL Division Two fixtures. What have we learned amid all the oscillations? Here are a few pointers …

CATS GET ON WITH IT

Brian Cody may have turned inscrutability into an art form, only saying something of note to the media when he has a very pointed point to make … but you've got to admire that he doesn't make excuses. Ever.

Back in February, he predicted a "challenging league" for a depleted Kilkenny but he has never used it as an excuse for the three defeats shipped to date.

On Sunday, he had just five of last year's All-Ireland winning team and they still edged a Clare team boasting 11 of their All-Ireland crew. Yet afterwards, Davy Fitzgerald was already talking about next weekend's relegation play-off "mountain to climb" against a Ballyhale-bolstered Kilkenny.

Listening, you'd never have guessed that Clare were 2013 senior kingpins with an underage pedigree that's the envy of everyone.

THE WEST'S ASLEEP

Kevin Walsh's honeymoon period in the Galway football hotseat is now officially over after three demoralising defeats on the spin. And to think, at half-time, they led Down by six, Cavan by three and Laois by six. Against the wind on Sunday, they lost the second half by 1-9 to 0-0 (yes, zero!) … looks like the Corofin crew can't return quickly enough.

O'MOORE THE MERRIER

By polar contrast, Laois keep bucking the odds. Supposed shoo-ins for relegation after losing their first two games, Tomás Ó Flatharta's party-poopers have now ambushed a brace of Connacht contenders (Roscommon and Galway) either side of a stirring comeback to draw in Meath. They're not safe yet but, with this head wind of momentum, surely they can't still claim underdog status against the labouring Lilies?

SECOND HALF-ITIS

Is spreading from Galway to Meath, whose own promotion ambitions may have suffered a fatal double-whammy after only drawing with Laois (when five up at the break, and seven soon after) and then losing in Roscommon (when up by a point at half-time, and three soon after, with a strong wind to come).

DUMMY DISEASE

Not wishing to rain on the Dublin hurlers' parade, in reaching the league quarter-finals, but why release a 'team' as late as Friday night … and then make three changes come Sunday? Either make the pretence look slightly more believable with a midweek announcement of your programme team or don't announce one at all. Ger Cunningham hasn't been slow in following Jim Gavin's "keep 'em guessing" protocol … at least the new 26-man squad list rule will end this tiresome charade.

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