Veterans bemoan the slaughter of 'innocent' Longford
IT WAS a muted day pundit-wise as Dublin and Galway fought out a draw in the Leinster SHC quarter-final and Dublins footballers steamrollered poor Longford in the Leinster SFC quarter-final.
Perhaps we shouldnt have been been surprised. The prospect of either game hardly set the pulse racing.
Just before the throw-in of the first game, analyst Ger Loughnane was asked who was going to win. The Clare man couldnt decide, and after telling us that both teams had dodgy defences and a reputation for inconsistency concluded that he could not rely on logic and declared to the Galway people, I will give you this.
In 2012, the referee was James McGrath, the commentator was Marty Morrissey, the co-commentator was Donal OGrady and they gave their best display ever. Maybe history will repeat itself, declared Loughnane.
It didnt. Ah well.
Onto the football. Are there any more pointless, dispiriting, look at it through your fingers affairs than Dublin versus Longford/Offaly/Westmeath etc in the Leinster SFC? Colm ORourke certainly does not think so and let rip with both barrels as he responded to Pat Spillanes grim reading of statistics from that particular championship.
Dublin have 53 Leinster Championships, Longford have one, said Spillane.
In Dublins last 33 Leinster Championship games - theyve won 31, drawn one and lost one. The average winning margin by Dublin in last years Leinster Championship was 14 points. I think the only team that have come within seven points of them since 2013 was Meath when they lost to Dublin by seven points, so it is a mountain to climb.
ORourke could hardly wait to enter the fray.
All its doing Michael (Lyster) is reflecting that the Leinster Championship is really a farce and its a combination of factors - the fact that Dublin have surged ahead and are really well organised and, I suppose, the fall off in standards - particularly in Meath and Kildare... who should be able to compete against Dublin on a reasonably regular basis, bemoaned ORourke.
Organising football on a provincial basis... is doing nothing for the likes of Longford.
At half-time, Dublin were 12 points to the good. Longford, to their credit, had not played overly defensively and had done their utmost to take the game to their illustrious opponents. Lyster suggested that perhaps they should employ a more cautious approach.
We spend our time here on The Sunday Game complaining about defensive football - putting men back behind the ball - I suppose Pat, in this game - theres an argument for the fact that Longford should be doing that, said the Galway man.
Spillane replied by calling it the slaughter of the innocents. Crikey.
Its men against boys and yes, you have a valid point about the use of the blanket defence. You are damned if you do and youre damned if you dont, reasoned Spillane.
Derry came to Croke Park for the league and it was eight points to four (against Dublin). It was a horror show where they just set up defensively but you knew god damn well - with that system they couldnt win.
At the same time, when you set up pretty much man-to-man and give that amount of space to the fastest, fittest, most athletic team in the country... it was naive in the extreme.
When Longfords ordeal was over, they had lost by 27 points and ORourke was not about to let up.
How would you encourage a young player in Longford to go and sacrifice yourself to play county football to get that?
We dont know anything about Dublin... we wont know anything about them until August. Its just biding time, said the exasperated Meath man.