Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Joe Kernan: How Lady Luck has the power to boot all your meticulous planning into touch

Goals win matches. How often have we heard that said particularly in a Championship context?

It is so true — and even fluke goals count. This was never more in evidence than last weekend when three teams benefited from the kind of scores which had rub of the green written all over them.

It was Dublin who became the first of the sides to discover that lady luck was not merely smiling but positively beaming on them.

Michael Darragh Macauley’s speculative fisted effort midway through the first-half did not appear to carry any great danger until it was deflected by Laois defender John O’Loughlin — who had given a heroic performance — into his own net.

Then it was Cork’s turn to enjoy an unexpected fillip at Kildare’s expense. The Lily Whites goalkeeper Shane Connolly pulled off a tremendous save only to see the ball ricochet off the leg of a defender and end up in the net.

Unfortunately from Kildare’s perspective, it was a score that proved the catalyst for a handsome Cork win.

Donegal, too, enjoyed a ration of good fortune in their game against Kerry.

Colm McFadden to all intents and purposes might as well have been on Mars along with the space craft when he prepared to take a sideline kick from what appeared to be the second row of the Cusack Stand in the sixth minute.

But in an era when cast-iron defensive mechanisms seemingly abound in gaelic football his hopeful punt towards the Kerry posts eluded all and sundry including the poorly-positioned Kingdom goalkeeper Brendan Kealy and ended up in the net.

It was to prove a telling score, too. Donegal held a 1-4 to 0-5 interval lead and there were still two points between the teams when referee Martin Duffy sounded the full-time whistle.

The goals proved that even the best-laid and most convoluted defensive plans can be undone by a freak occurrence.

I would venture to suggest that we will not see too many more goals of this nature during the remainder of the All-Ireland Championship series.

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