Weeshie's Week

Cork to win the 2012 Munster Championship

May 8th, 2012
by Weeshie Fogarty

The most frequently asked question from my perspective as I travel around the county and beyond is one that that has always come up around this time of year, "will Kerry win the All Ireland""?. The league is no sooner done and dusted when the guessing game begins. Impossible of course to predict such an outcome, however I believe the bigger topic will be exactly how the Kerry/Cork game penciled in for June 10th will pan out. And of course I am full aware the Kerry play Tipperary in the opening round but who in their right mind would even contemplates a Tipperary victory. The equivalent to this would be to expect Kerry defeat the Premier county in a Munster senior hurling clash.  Simply not on.  The one good thing from a Kerry point of view is that an opening game against one of the so called weaker counties helps greatly in the build up and will give Kerry a little momentum as they face Cork.

And make no mistake about this semi-final, it is a very important game for both counties and while the loser will of course get another chance the winner will be really cock-a-hoop and confidence will be sky high as they sit back and enjoy the progress of their beaten opponents as they endeavor to win through the so called "back door". Its early days yet but the pendulum has definitely swung in Corks favour following their recent national League final success over Mayo, the perennial losers of finals in Croke Park. Winning the league does make a big difference in a counties ambitions to land the double, especially in latter years. It's an early indicator of form which may well point to who might win the championship.

It's really only in later years that league form has given us such championship indications. Believe it or not between 1990 and 2007 only Kerry, in 1997 had brought off the league/championship double. However all that has changed in the past decade, Tyrone, Kerry three times and Cork in 2010 all brought off the double while Kerry and Dublin have also contested both finals in the same year without double victories. It's an amazing change around in the attitude of counties and it points in one direction for me, and that is the almost professional preparations' that counties are now undertaking.

And here I am of the opinion that Cork will start as favourites to win the forthcoming All Ireland. They have everything going for them and I believe they are ahead of Kerry in this regard. Connor Counihan knows full well that they failed miserably to Mayo last year in the championship and he will be hell bent on making amends for that failure. He will have most of his injured stars back in action. Daniel Goulding, Colm o Neill and Ciarain Sheehan in particular will add massive power and skill to his panel.  I watched them closely on the box in their recent win over Mayo. Conor Counihan's Rebels crushed the brave western challenge with a power-packed second-half display, conceding just two points while they fired home a 2-5 salvo to run out five points winners and claim an historic third NFL title in a row.  Not since Kerry won four leagues in a row in the early seventies have a county dominated to such an extent.

The one thing this bears out above all else in the great debt of talent available to Cork.  And it is precisely in this regard that I believe they are ahead of Kerry as the race for Sam begins.  They have great fitness, aggression, (maybe a little bit too much), physicality, strength and conditioning which only years of continuous training can bring.  And it is precisely because of this I write here maintaining the Munster semi- final will give a great indication exactly where both counties stand in their preparations. Championship clashes between the old rivals have been very close affairs in latter years. A convincing, comfortable and decisive win for one or the other in this forthcoming battle will answer a multitude of questions.  And what of Kerry, a county in transition, are they settled side? A question to ponder for another day.


I stood at the Tahilla grave side last Friday of a passionate Kerry GAA man. Eddie o Sullivan, club President had served Sneem for decads and before that had worked for 25 years in Birmingham where he was one of a few who founded a new GAA club there. In 1959 together with the great Waterville GAA activist Paddy Fogarty, Michael Sugrue and a Roscommon man the St Brendan's GAA club was founded. Eddie was also treasurer of the Warwickshire county board for twelve years.  When his brother died in Tahilla Eddie came home to run the family farm, began work in Parknasilla Hotel and immediately became deeply involved in the Sneem club. During a beautiful mass in Tahilla church on the day of his burial one of his nephews Damian from Birmingham gave a lovely touching talk from the alter on Eddies life. Tears flowed. I did a series of touching and richly deserved interviews at the grave side following his burial and each person I spoke to were of the one view about this exemplary man.  He was one of Sneem's greatest servants and had been their county board delegate for fifteen years. "Eddie o Sullivan a gentleman and an officer and a good judge of whiskey" as the late John B Keane would say. May the sod of Tahilla rest lightly on him. Sneem has lost two great sons during the last weeks, John Egan and Eddie. Eddie was to Sneem off the field what John was on it. Enough said. It was a privilege to stand at his grave side. He may have been one of the relatively unknown grass root GAA activists in this county but to me he was one of those fast fading quintessential hard core exemplary workers who ask for nothing in return for a life of service to the Gaelic Athletic Association. Surely there is a lesson there for all of us.

To his nephews and nieces, sisters-in-law, cousins and club men and women we extend our deepest sympathies

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