A few thoughts on the weekend.
I am surprised that Kinnitty are being dismissed by almost every commentator. I beg to differ with those dismissals, because I think Kinnitty have a decent chance of progression to the quarter-final.
With eight minutes of last year’s meeting remaining, KInnitty actually led Coolderry by two points, before the eventual champions finished stronger. Kinnitty actually beat them in 2017, and in 2016 KInnitty beat them too. So Kinnitty won’t lack for belief.
Coolderry’s best chance of survival is to strike early. They might have did that against Belmont, scoring the first three points, but the winners scored a settling goal. Without that goal, Coolderry might have added another point, and another. They didn’t though, and the champions sustained a right bang on the ear.
David King is not a full-back. And Kinnitty, somehow, draw plenty of frees. To withstand the Coolderry assault, Kinnitty need Shane Kinsella (probably at centre half-back) and Paddy Delaney (probably marking Brian Carroll - a job he has done well before) hurling really well, Aodhán Kealey too. And they need to keep their discipline. And they need to find a role that best suits James Dempsey – maybe as a ball-winning half-forward?
Elsewhere, improving Shinrone attempt something they haven’t done before, to win five successive championship matches. They’ve twice won four, in 2012 and this year. Final rounds of the group can go against current form too, particularly where we know St Rynagh’s will go straight to the semi-final and Shinrone will contest a quarter-final.
To answer a different question, most likely St Rynagh’s will advance further than Shinrone will in this year’s championship. But despite that, Shinrone may well win here. Rynagh’s won last year’s quarter-final on a day Shinrone took leave of their senses and left unmarked men all over the place, they drew with each other in the earlier group game, while Shinrone won the 2017 group game by a point.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.