Things Never Stay The Same... Not Even In G.A.A.
Dublin upsurging what Kerry had never achieved in 135 years and Tipperary blowing the lid off Kilkenny's great hurling uprising in 2019, have been the leading sports stories of the year just gone into the record books. Dublin were always on the radar to achieve mission impossible to displace 31 other counties but not so Tipperary.
Theoretically Tipp's new manager raised the barometer upwards from 2018, but Liam Sheedy was not really expected to climb Mount Everest on his return visit to Semple Stadium and a good hurling year in the premier colours would have been very welcome. Meantime Kerry did take Dublin to a replay, but the omens were all posted eastwards to Liffeyside on the counties rematch.
Looking at football and hurling All Stars final choices for 2019, once again it is well beyond normal time to replace this annual charade. The Terrace Comments are again extremely dismissive and point to statements by sports fans, that the All Star selectors watch different matches to the fans on the terraces for a long number of years. Judging players on just one or two penultimate matches on the final run in is not condusive to fair and adequate policing of a players performance over a season, but that is not likely to be remedied.
Down the grades in both codes it was Tipperary and Cork Under 20's who set the standards in hurling and football and once again, Cork may have signalled a new football horizon, but the roads ahead are twisty and un-navigated by players facing a real baptism of fire at the top tier. In hurling, no county outside the powerbase revealed little intent on challenging the established counties, whilst Offaly's slide down the hurling ladder is a source of great concern.
Their return to the top table is only possible with great patience and great encouragement to the players now challenged with restoring pride in the green/white and gold faithful jersey. Offaly is a very small county, but Kilkenny is not too large in size also, but they do have a rich asset in the county geographical spread of hurling passion all over every blade of grass in the Black and Amber county.
As we are still trawling through 2019 on the fields, a subject worthy of any discussion, is the immense cost to county boards of edging their panels of players to a level of fitness unprecedented in the lifetime of gaelic games. Also the social restrictions on panel players in the build up to a new season is rated as professionalism under the ethos of amateur.
Croke Park now have an army of administrators driven solely by the need to keep paying their salaries as No.1 and the players are the meat on the table to achieve their goal. The overdose of inter county games, not to mention the admission costs, will in the not too distant future come back to haunt Croke Park. G.A.A. fans have always been exceptionally loyal when asked to fork out unacceptable admission tariffs, but the wind is rapidly changing.
On another occasion this subject will be further itemised.