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17th Jul 2018

“It’s almost funny how ironic that name is after the first round, because it was far from super”

Michael Corry

After the huge success of the hurling championship round-robin system, the time finally came for the football to take centre stage as the first weekend of the Super 8 series took place.

The new format sees the traditional one-off knockout quarter-final replaced with two groups, designed to give fans more games to watch and players more games against the top teams.

Alas, it proved to be an underwhelming occasion as a half-empty Croke Park played host to four games that failed to capture the imagination.

Meanwhile, the hurling stole the show once again as Limerick ousted Kilkenny in an All-Ireland quarter-final that will live long in the memory.

Galway vs Kerry was billed as the big game of the weekend, the showpiece event of the opening group stages. Played in wet conditions, the game proved to be a damp squib.

Tomás Corrigan was our guest on Monday’s GAA Hour, and the Fermanagh forward was not shy in airing his opinion on the weekends inaugural Super 8s.

The Erne County go-to man did not hold back.

“It’s called the Super 8s, it’s almost funny how ironic that name is after the first round, because it was far from super,” he said.

“The Kerry and Galway game, it was terrible – only I knew I was coming on here today I would’ve turned it off. The first 20 minutes were just awful, the World Cup was on as well so I wanted to turn that on but I kept watching, God it was bad.”

Corrigan highlighted the possibility of how Sunday’s game would have been perceived had his own county been involved.

“If that was Fermanagh or someone playing we would be getting slated for it, that we need a two-tiered Championship it was so bad, but that was Kerry and Galway and these teams get a free ride most of the year, it was a really bad game.”

The ace attacker makes a compelling point. The topic of a two-tiered championship has been hanging around like a bad smell for a while now, but here we are with two genuine All-Ireland contenders serving up something that would probably be more expected from a Tommy Murphy cup game.

With all due respect to the short-lived competition, the final game in 2008 ended on a scoreline of 3-12 to 1-15 which suggests that it was a much better spectacle than these heavy-hitters gave us on Sunday.

Corrigan continued in similar fashion when pressed on the state of the modern game comparing it to handball – the Olympic sport, not the Gaelic one.

“A couple of years ago, the Olympics was on and I was watching handball, the inside handball and I was thinking that is exactly what Gaelic is now because everyone defends and it’s a little pass pass across, pass across back, pass across back, then one lad gets it and he goes and tries to make an inroad.”

He compared this to football saying: “It’s the same in Gaelic, everyone goes up the pitch and it is back and forwards, back and forwards until someone makes a little dart and gets a score and it’s so boring.”

It really does make for grim reading. One of our marquee forwards finds football boring. Can you really blame him though?

In a game dominated by blanket defences and endless hand-passing, the role of a corner forward has been reduced significantly. So much so that if Tomás was to start over again he may do things differently.

“When I started playing it was obviously, 15 on 15 and you put probably your best players up in the forwards for them to get scores and that’s where your personality dictated where you wanted to play because you wanted to be outgoing and flamboyant,” Corrigan went further.

“So, I wanted to be the lad getting on the end of scores, but now, if you want to have the biggest impact on a game it’s wing-half back you want to be starting out at, not corner forward, because a corner forward now only gets maybe 3 or 4 touches a half, and a lot of them you may have 3 lads hanging out of ye.

“So, for me if someone was starting Gaelic football now and they were the best player I’d be putting them wing-half back or midfield even though they aren’t tall.”

He ended by saying, ” I don’t know what they are going to do because it is not fun to watch, it’s just boring.”

It is clear Tomás isn’t afraid to voice his opinion. If the standard of football keeps going the way it has been we may see him behind a microphone sooner than expected… at least he seems tailor-made for it.

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