Joe Kernan: Results have been surprising with suspensions a crucial factor
Since the belated start to the season, there have been some rather surprising results in various competitions.
Some of these have been attributable to outstanding performances by rather unfancied teams on a given day while others have been acquired through an amalgamation of grit as well as a never-say-die spirit.
A third group of teams have lost matches they might reasonably have been expected to win for a rather different reason — the absence of key players through suspension.
When Tyrone surrendered to Mayo at home in the National League, Conor Gormley, Justin McMahon and Martin Penrose, three of their most in-form players, were absentees because of the red cards incurred in the television/video evidence fall-out after their team’s loss to Derry.
And when Derry themselves subsequently bowed the knee to Dublin the then suspended Eoin Bradley might perhaps have been able to influence proceedings had he been available instead of being consigned to a seat in the stand.
Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney meanwhile was left to rue the rumpus that tarnished his team’s O’Byrne Cup tie against Laois when bans on two key players, including sharpshooter John Doyle, meant they were out of the reckoning for the important Division Two league opener against Down in which the Lily Whites capitulated in the second-half.
Meanwhile St Gall’s and Corofin meet in Dublin on Saturday to determine just who will do battle with Clare and Munster champions Kilmurry/Ibrickane — and I have a word of warning for St Gall’s.
Do not look beyond Saturday night’s game. Too often teams have set their sights on a final against what they viewed as ‘easier’ opponents only to come a cropper before actually having their passport stamped.