The sporting week that was: Rachel forced to walk the line as Diarmo takes his medicine
The football season ended on Sunday with a bad-tempered whimper, as the Republic of Ireland carried on their proud tradition of drawing competitive home internationals.
As Martin O'Neill's men and their Austrian counterparts departed for their Dubai holidays, the sporting stage was left clear for the boys of summer. The GAA and those intrepid Lions Tourists were all set to hog the headlines, until a certain deal was done late Wednesday night.
Like a purple and gold stall selling strawberries, Wexford's victory over Kilkenny appeared in the hard shoulder of the GAA season and announced the start of the summer. On Monday we were still coming to terms with the magnitude of the win. While former Kilkenny heroes were questioning the players currently at Brian Cody's disposal, the true cause of Saturday's result was hoving into view, blocking the sun and making everything in its vicinity appear minuscule by comparison. We are, of course, referring to Lee Chin's thigh muscles. The Wexford co-captain is a beast, a physical specimen and one of the most in-form hurlers in the country. He joined us on the GAA Hour Hurling Show to discuss the Davy Effect, that Wexford Park crowd and his own floating role. Elsewhere, news broke that Diarmuid Connolly was to contest the 12-week ban proposed by the Central Controls and Competition Committee.
It may be summertime on our strawberry-infested little island but, in New Zealand, winter is coming and winter is coming hard. The Lions got a much-needed win over the Crusaders at the weekend but they were brought back to earth, so to speak, by the Highlanders. An agonising one-point defeat in Dunedin did at least feature a couple of encouraging Irish performances and an incredible, two-for-the-price-of-one tackle, from Robbie Henshaw. Back home on this sun-drenched rock, we were raking over the coals of Mayo's defeat to Galway. Was it down to Kevin Walsh's Tribal tactics or do Mayo folk, genetically, just like to make things hard for themselves? This qualifier route looks like being particularly heinous for everyone's second favourite team...
The day began with Diarmuid Connolly's unsuccessful hearing in front the Central Hearings Committee - you have to get up pretty early in the morning to impress the CHC, or stay up quite late. Either way, they dismissed Connolly's challenge of his 12-week ban, which we can only speculate consisted of reading Joe Brolly newspaper columns aloud. With Carlow star Brendan Murphy having his red card rescinded, you could fairly say that a Gaelic football match played 11 days earlier should have finished with 15 versus 14, instead of 14 versus 15. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that. Whoever had the foresight to allow Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jnr rub up against each other should be expecting a cut of the $678,000,000,000,000 slugfest that was confirmed Wednesday night to go ahead 26 August in Las Vegas. Will it be a real-life Hulk Hogan versus Rocky Balboa? Who cares - you know you are going to watch. Meanwhile, Countdown maths boffin Rachel Riley revealed she had left Sky Sports on the back of abuse received following her "bottle job" comment about Tottenham's bottle job at end of Premier League season.
As one saga ended - with news Diarmuid Connolly would not be contesting his ban any deeper into the GAA's alphabet soup of CACs and DRAs - another was only winding up. As the world awoke to news that renowned martial artist Conor McGregor was going to take on unbeaten professional boxer Floyd Mayweather, in a boxing match, some were horrified. Clearly they had hoped that the endless back-and-forth between the pair was empty talk, instead of the precursor to one of the most pointless - yet profitable - sporting events of the modern era (The Carling Nations Cup, anyone?) Anyway, one former sparring partner of McGregor's was quick out of the blocks with some rather unflattering footage of the Dubliner's boxing technique. Maybe it is not wonderful, but have you seen his bank balance? In other news, regarding another Conor, the Kiwi press cannot get enough of Conor Murray - they think the Munster and Ireland scrum-half is the best thing about the Lions team, which is not saying a great deal, as the Kiwi press are not exactly bowled over by Gatty's lads thus far.
Not sure what the New Zealand media's problem is with our scratch team of Northern Hemisphere pluggers is anyway, you'd swear they were gorging on champagne rugby the whole time. Oh wait, I see. At least we have the hurling... Cork take on Waterford this weekend and former Kilkenny corner-back Jackie Tyrrell reckons the Déise can rattle their inexperienced opponents with some Grade A banter. Speaking of Tyrrell, on the GAA Hour, Damien Hayes admitted he wanted to see the James Stephens man off the punditry couch and back on the edge of the square. Hey, if Mayweather can make a comeback, why not Tyrrell?