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Strawberries won’t be easy pickings

by Jimmy Rhatigan

IT WAS no three-card trick.

But it was a first cousin.

The pre-match publication of a team that wasn’t to be the side to play Dublin in the senior hurling championship may not have fooled everyone, nor was it meant to.

But it probably had Dublin team boss Mattie Kenny scratching his upper storey.

The rumour machine had it that Brian Cody was set to ring the changes.

Ring the changes?

Were he a campanologist, Cody would have been swinging out of the ropes, dinging the dongs, telling all and sundry that he meant business on his team’s day out in Parnell Park, Dublin.

The Kilkenny team on the blurb from the local GAA to its supporters included four players who would not start the game.

The communication to aficionados could have been described as fake news but I would prefer to see it as part of the tactics of a passionate backroom determined to score a goal on Molly Malone before she could even get her togs on.

It was ingenuity, pre-match banter if you like, certainly not intended to hurt but designed perhaps to confuse the Dubs management team.

Whether or not the bit of devilment worked will never be known but it just may have given the Cats a pre-throw-in fillip.


For the record, the names of Conor Browne, Cillian Buckley, Billy Ryan and James Maher appeared on the team sheet.

None started.

Into the action went Richie Reid, Cian Kenny, Martin ‘Mossy’ Keoghan and Alan Murphy.

The clever move that included one quartet and omitted another may have been a sleight of hand or indeed a wink on paper but whatever way it is called, it was not merely a paper tiger as all four brought into the side made huge contributions.

The performance of young James Stephens fledgling Cian Kenny was particularly pleasing.

He was brilliant, showed some great touches and took his scores with wonderful calmness and subtlety.

He certainly appears to be a chip off the old block. His great granddad was the late Mick Kenny of Kilkenny and John Lockes, Callan senior hurling fame.

Mossy Keoghan was a revelation and Alan Murphy impressed although he was extra well policed.

TJ Reid, the daddy of Kilkenny hurling, was sensational. His touches were magic, his goal was superb and his overall performance suggests that our Roy of the Rovers remains our ace of trumps. 


When Brian Cody and his merry men went into conclave to select the team for the showdown with the Sky Blues, they didn’t bring cups of coffee or knives and forks.

They were brandishing hatchets and following the huge disappointment of Salthill against Henry Shefflin’s Galway they had no compunction about wielding their axes.

They knew they had to be cruel to be kind.

That their plan worked to perfection means that we may experience more of the same for the rest of the hurling campaign.

The beauty of the plan to push Molly Malone’s barrow to one side was that those who were left on the subs’ bench will know that they , on other days, may be the ones to be left out so that they can be pushed in from the start, if you get our drift.

For Saturday’s crucial UPMC Nowlan Park  game against noisy neighbours Wexford, it is a given that, barring any injuries, the same team will get the nod when the wise ones gather in conclave.

There should be no hanging around for journalists waiting for white smoke.

Our Cats should be purring but they will know that Wexford Strawberries won’t be easy pickings. 

GAA owes an apology

The Kilkenny hurlers were a joy to watch on Sunday.

But, sadly thousands of GAA followers in our city and county could not see the game even though it was live on TV.

Because of a GAA decision to bring British broadcaster Sky on board, lovers of the beautiful game without Sky Sport were left in Limbo, wherever that is.

Seniors who have supported the GAA all their lives but cannot afford the high costs of Sky TV are the victims of poor decision making by the GAA.

 The latter may be one of the world’s top amateur sporting organisations but it falls down badly by putting profit before people.

Lose your audience and no matter how good your product is, the arse will inevitably fall out of your britches.

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