Opinion

Editorial : No league reports!!!

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The first round of club football fixtures have come and gone, and unfortunately, as you can see, we haven’t reported on any of the games which were our bread and butter when we began in 2014.

Primarily it reflects the fact that at present, as a voluntary, non-commercial magazine, we don’t have the time/reporters to cover the league right now.

Saying that, we haven’t pushed too hard to try to find extra hands to cover the league. This reflects our sentiment that the league competitions from Division 1 to Division 3 have basically become a complete farce.

None of the genuine Senior Championship contenders are seriously interested in winning the league, and the chances of teams in Division 2 and 3, all of whom care, are radically swayed depending on whether their Dublin footballers and hurlers are available or not, or whether they play opponents when their Dublin players are available or not.

Small and Connolly had a critical duel throughout

These two won’t see much league football this year

For example, in 2014 St. Olaf’s in Division Three won eight out of nine when Davey Byrne played, and two from six when he didn’t. Castleknock didn’t lose a single game when Ciarán Kilkenny played in 2013.

As for Whitehall Colmcille’s, they were almost promoted from Division 3 in 2013. Then, in 2014, with Cormac Costello in the senior fold, he played just six games. They won six from those six. In games where he didn’t play they lost seven, won one and drew one from nine. They avoided the drop zone by a point. In fact, in all of 2013 and 2014, they didn’t lose a single league game with Costello playing, except to St. Olaf’s and Castleknock…..when Byrne and Kilkenny were playing!

The same year, 2014, Balinteer St. John’s missed five Dublin seniors and under 21’s and lost their first five Division 2 football league games. With most/all returned, they then won nine of their last ten and just missed out on the top five.

castleknock-judes-pic-9

Even for the semi-final stages in the Division 1 league in the last two years, teams have been without Dublin players who were fit to play in November, but were otherwise engaged.

Yes, the whole thing has become a farce, and frankly, not worth the effort to report on.

It’s certainly a long time since the mid nineties when Fingallians’ Paul O’Neill apparently had his Dublin career ended by breaking rank to play in the AIB Cup final against the instructions of the county management.

grassroots senior champ 17 1

That the current leagues have become less significant than the cups of 20 years ago, says all their needs to be said about the farcical lack of fore-thought which has gone into planning at Croke Park, and the absolute need for the Gaelic Club Players Association.

We’ll be following their developments closely and hopefully throwing the full weight of our support behind them.

grassroots march 17

Our priority, however, for now, is to cover the Dublin Senior Football and Hurling Championships in as great a depth as possible, and if possible, some of the Intermediate and Junior championships too.

As you’ll have seen, we’re following the Dublin football team with a tactical and statistical eye for their league campaign. We had hoped to follow the hurlers too, but with Vincent’s and Cuala both winning Leinster, we just haven’t had the time.

Putting out quality articles with in depth statistical analysis is time consuming work. Even if we don’t cover the hurlers league campaign, we’ll be getting the statistical software out for the Leinster Championship, and hopefully, beyond.

So for now, we’ve looked at why the Dubs beat Mayo so heavily, and we’ll be looking at the issues thrown up by the Senior Football Championship draw.

Next week we’ll be dedicating an edition to both Cuala’s hurlers and the Dubs’ footballers, as each goes in search of breaking new ground.

We hope it will be a memorable weekend for Dublin G.A.A.

By Stephen O’Meara

@somearagaa

@grassrootsgaa