So you thought that you had seen all the rabbits in Brian Cody's baseball cap. So consider this. Galway secured their first line ball in a scoreable position in the last ten minutes of yesterday's Leinster final. A coincidence, or does Kilkenny's powers extend to being able to prevent put-upon opponents from even garnering side lines, for their deadly coruscating duo of Ger Farragher and Joe Canning. At this stage if one is to plump for Cody's battalions or the certainty of chance, this quarter knows whose side he is on. One suspects that if Kilkenny were a soccer team Rory Delap would be looking for alternative employment.
If Cody has such as hold one wonders why so much time is wasted in the media ( old and new ) talking about trying to negate the All-Ireland champions. Two-thirds of R.T.E's panel fulminated about Damien Hayes being re-located out the field in the second half, only for Cyril Farrell to point out that it occurred because Galway were being beaten up a stick at mid-field the the Michaels Rice and Fennelly. One didn't think that Kilkenny could have as intimidating a duo i Lar na Pairce as Derek Lyng and Cha Fitzpatrick anytime soon. But that poverty of imagination didn't take account for the fact that the cats are continually reinventing the hurling wheel, with the 2008 All Ireland final being but the most awesome manifestation. And of course they may be more to come from the forwards. Eddie Brennan is evincing the fire and brimstone of yore but not the rapier hurling. Eoin Larkin will likely not always hit wides for fun. Richie Power continues to provide tantalising cameos without quite bringing consistency to his game. Ditto T.J Reid has managed to shoot five points from play so far, but not quite copper fastened his starting place after previous super-sub heroics. Cody has, unwittingly, shown that early summer is a time where he feels he can experiment. Witness the esoteric placing of Richie Hogan at centre-forward against Dublin and Martin Comerford at corner-forward versus Galway.
Galway's tactical plotting yesterday wasn't entirely knuckle-headed. The placing of Andy Smith in a deep position had at least the virtue that a tribesman forward wasn't detained with the forlorn task of trying to win 50-50 ball against Tommy Walsh. Without getting into too much jiggery pokery this blogger would at least offer this simple suggestion. Whilst lining out forwards basically in their proper positions make sure that corner forwards ( preferably light speedy ones ) get at least some chalk on their boots. This at least would ensure that players like John Mullane don't spend their time 25 yards infield like De La Salle's finest did in last years All- Ireland semi. It also would ensure that John Dalton, his finest hours previously at full back, will be properly tested. The result will likely be the same however. Yesterday's facile victory has brought to the fore again the question of the death of hurling. In reality the sport is in decent health but is portrayed to be otherwise partly because one competitor currently operates in a different world to other (dual) counties . If obviously the cats can't be punished by ordering them to devote resources to the big ball game, it's equally unrealistic to expect that many of their rivals can ramp up their hurling resources significantly at gaelic footballs expense. So come to think of it maybe asking Shefflin and co. to wear tennis shorts replete with lead weights in their pockets isn't a bad idea.