GAA Football

O'Rourke on hand to deliver the Spillane spin

THANK goodness for small mercies. The bosses at RTE spared us all from a gloating Pat Spillane yesterday as Kerry defeated Cork in the Munster Senior Football Championship final. No doubt Pat would have been informing us about the benefits of an attacking style of play as the Kingdom held off a spirited Rebel comeback in the second half.

Before the game, Colm O'Rourke compared Eamonn Fitzmaurice's decision to drop Kieran Donaghy to Warren Gatland's omission of Brian O'Driscoll from the Lions squad. However, 'Star' managed to see some game-time as Kerry sealed a 1-16 to 0-17 win in Fitzgerald Stadium.

Cork manager Conor Counihan, though, was in the firing line after the game for making three changes before throw-in before reversing the switches by the 55th minute. "It is strange to reflect at the end of the game on the changes that Cork made presumably to cause difficulties with Kerry," said O'Rourke. "Instead of that, all they did was mess up themselves."

While Spillane was absent yesterday, O'Rourke still managed to do a great impersonation of the Kerryman when analysing the game. "What Kerry did for the first 45 minutes of the game was they brought it back to the traditional good kick-passing style. "The quality of the kick passing off both feet by a lot of Kerry players was superior. "It was strange then that Cork, in the end, reverted to an even more traditional game - let it in high into the square and let fellas fight for it and it caused all sorts of trouble." For the hurling coverage, RTE were one pundit short of a full panel as Michael Lyster was joined by Michael Duignan at the start of the match-day coverage.

The duo were soon joined by Tomas Mulcahy and, after Dublin had raced into an eight-point half-time lead, the Cork man lambasted the Tribesmen for a lacklustre showing in the opening 35 minutes. "Well to be honest, Galway are absolutely rubbish. "I mean, that's the worst Galway display I have seen in a long time," said Mulcahy. "They are coming into their second Leinster final with an opportunity to get into an All-Ireland semi-final and they are sauntering around the field. Up front, I don't know what they are doing."

While Anthony Cunningham's side upped the ante after the break, Dublin responded well to surge clear and claim a 2-25 to 2-13 win.

After winning their first Leinster title in 52 years, Mulchay feels Anthony Daly's side are now genuine All-Ireland contenders. "No doubt about it. People will sit up and take notice about Dublin hurling."

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