There’s nothing like a good Munster final, and that was nothing like a good Munster final.
t was quite simply a pure and utter embarrassment and a far cry from titanic tussles of the past, when old rivals Cork and Kerry went at it like two sturdy stags battling to get the attentions of a fair doe.
Speaking of courting rituals, the Munster Football Championship has also thrown up a sprinkling of romance on occasion, no more so than Tipperary winning the provincial title last year, or Clare famously defeating Kerry in the 1992 final.
Last year the Rebels may have caught their rivals on the hop in the semi-final, but days like the decider of 1983 are now a distant memory, when a last-gasp goal saw Cork triumph 3-10 to 3-9 to prevent their rivals from winning nine provincial titles in a row, the year after Offaly had scuppered their hopes of five All-Irelands on the trot.
Sunday’s game was painful to watch as Kerry stormed to record 22-point victory.
It was no more than a training session as the Kingdom build up to what they hope is a serious tilt at wrestling the All-Ireland crown from the strong arms of Dublin.
If the Boys in Blue did what Kerry did to Cork on Sunday to any of the Leinster minnows there would be immediate calls for the provincial system to be scrapped, as it benefits nobody, neither the team on the receiving end or the side dishing out the unmerciful beating.
It’s the first time in as long as I can remember that the Dubs aren’t favourites to lift the Sam Maguire Cup, with the Munster champions taking up that mantle.
Kerry certainly looked good as the drove forward in waves against a Cork side that parted like the Red Sea, but it’s probably best not to read too much into a match that was more straightforward than reciting the two times tables.
At least the Connacht edition was a little more palatable, with Galway looking like world-beaters at times in the first-half, before succumbing to the might of the men from Mayo.
You just have to sit back and admire James Horan’s side for the way they refuse to buckle.
They continue to get kicked where it hurts when they’re down, but like a boxer using the leverage of the ropes to stay standing they fill the lungs with oxygen and come out swinging again.
Being the eternal optimists, Mayo fans will be dreaming of ending decades of hurt this summer, pointing to perceived chinks in the armour of All-Ireland champions Dublin, but of course that could just be wishful thinking from the westerners and the rest of the chasing pack.
Thankfully the weekend’s hurling action provided us with more gripping fare, and the Cork hurlers look to be in a better place that their footballing counterparts, although it would still be somewhat of a surprise if they managed to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup this year.
That said, although dethroning Limerick will be a big ask for any county, the Rebels probably have as good a chance as any of doing so, and given the difficulty reigning champions have had in securing back-to-back titles in recent years, you just never know what might happen.
Cork will certainly be confident going into a quarter-final against a Dublin side that just didn’t perform in their tame Leinster final loss to Kilkenny, and a dominant display from the Rebels next weekend would see them going into the last four on a high.
The exhilarating contest between Waterford and Galway, that ended in a 1-30 to 3-20 triumph for the Munster men, showed that almost anything is possibly in the crazy world of hurling, with the Déise seemingly sauntering to victory after laying the foundations with a sensational first-half, before the Tribemen’s stirring final quarter fightback fell short.
It doesn’t get any easier for Waterford, having been drawn to face 2019 All-Ireland champions Tipperary in the last eight and they may need to hit the heights they reached in the first-half against Galway if they are to topple the Premier county. The suspicion is they won’t be able to scale the mountain again so soon after an energy-sapping classic, so Tipperary get a tentative vote with three or four points to spare.
One thing’s for sure, unlike the tepid Munster football final, it’s all boiling up nicely.