With everyone else shutting up shop, Kilkenny hurling championship goes full steam ahead
Tuesday night lights.
Brian Cody looked on last summer as Larchfield emptied. He'd have seen the same in Kell's Road, in Danesfort, in Tullaroan and in Ballyragget too.
Club players twiddling their thumbs for the best months of the year. It's hardly a new phenomenon but with the round-robin in hurling and the Super 8s in football bringing with them even more inter-county games, the marginalisation of the common player became even more pronounced. Why wouldn't they tip off to America?
Brian Cody is above all else though, a Kilkenny GAA man. Those blank, deserted sights struck him and gnawed away at him. He wasn't going to to let it happen again.
And so with almost every other senior county championship closed off until the end of the county team's summer, the Kilkenny club player has loads to play for, loads to stick around for.
It made sense too, given that Kilkenny's next game in Leinster is more than two and a half weeks away. But given the length of their injury list, a less agreeable manager might have buckled.
None the less, there was a round of senior and intermediate club games in Kilkenny on Tuesday night and there will be a few more games on Wednesday. The way it should be.
In fairness, a county like Mayo wouldn't be able to run off a round of club championship midweek given the amount of players so far away from home, but Kilkenny GAA and Cody still deserve credit for giving it the go ahead.
Danesfort 2-17 Dicksboro 2-16
Having survived by the skins of Carrickhock's teeth last year, Danesfort were almost everybody's tip for relegation this year. April losses to Erin's Own and to the Rower did nothing to suggest otherwise. But on a Tuesday night in Callan the lambs kicked up a fuss at the slaughter.
The return of Richie Hogan was undoubtedly a huge boost for them and he made it count with three from open play. His brother Paddy was also on form but Cillian Treacy was the main man, hitting 2-1.
Dicksboro are still looking good on top of the group though and the return of Cillian Buckley, who played the full 60 minutes, bodes well for both club and county.
— Dicksboro GAA Club (@DicksboroGAA) May 21, 2019
Mullinavat 4-12 Bennettsbridge 1-21
Mullinavat looked all set for a famous win only for the Bridge to hit three late points to level it up.
Full-time @KilkennyCLG @StCanicesCU SHL: @TheBridgeGAA 1-21, @GAAMullinavat 4-12. ‘Vat hit 1-5 in last 10 minutes to take the lead but three late points, including a Jamie Harkin free from halfway, saw ‘Bridge grab a draw at the death. @KKPeopleSport
— Trevor Spillane (@TrevorSpillane) May 21, 2019
Youngster Jamie Harkin was the saviour for last year's beaten county finalists, the 17-year-old hitting eight points, including a late leveller from a free. Ciaran Brennan also impressed for the Bridge while John Walsh hit 1-6 for Mullinavat.
O'Loughlin Gaels 2-19 Clara 2-12
Clara were going for the perfect three, having beaten both of last year's county finalists in April. But O'Loughlin Gaels, buoyed by a loss to the same opposition in the county quarter final last year, wouldn't take no for an answer.
Mark Bergin was the difference, the sharpshooter finishing his evening with 1-11 for the town side. Martin 'Gorta' Comerford hasn't gone away either, the veteran landing two from play.
Erin's Own 1-15 St Pat's Ballyragget 2-9
Successive losses to Graigue Ballycallan and now Erin's Own leave the Bally in a precarious position. Michael Murphy as he so often does, did the damage for Comer with 0-11.
Meanwhile, St Martin's defeated junior champs Dunnamaggin while Glenmore and Tullogher-Rosbercon couldn't be separated in the intermediate.
And on Wednesday night, there are two more games to look forward to...