Doing a Cluxton Maybe we’ll never have to watch that Paddy CullenÓgoal again. Of all the blessings that may befall all of us in the GAA as a result of the Dubs last gasp victory in the All Ireland last Sunday, the relegation of that goal to the deepest bin in RTE would top the list. You would imagine the whole history of Kerry and Dublin was all about Mikey Sheehy stealing a march on poor Paddy, who hadn’t even fouled anyone in that particular episode. Anyway, the film footage from now on can focus on a different Dubs goalkeeper, Cool Hand Luke himself, Stephen Cluxton. Match previews can be like that, delving into the past, checking score lines from an age when the players weren’t even born, as if the hand of history was going to decide the result of the next game. If the Dubs gauged their chances by the result of a lot of their previous meetings with Kerry, then they would have stayed at home last week; but there is a new generation of player now. What happened when his grandfather played inÓgoals in his trousers doesn’t really weigh heavily on his mind in the build up to any final. What matters is now. And so to a busy weekend of finals in Leitrim. Will Glencar Manorhamilton tremble at the thought that Leitrim’s last four in a row was fifty years ago? Hardly. They are where they want to be, that’s all. The Bor’s should have rid them of any complacency in the round robin, though their ‘keep ball’ tactics at the end of an easy semi final win over Ballinamore might indicate that Glenn Young needs to get their heads right for Sunday; there will be no chance for show boating. St. Mary’s are just where they want to be too and their tigerish performance against Annaduff will have done no harm to their confidence. Brendan Guckian well knows the pain of a losing dressing room from his long career in the club and county jersey, so a motivational few words to his charges will be no bother to him. Gortletteragh and MelvinÓgael have each had great glory days on Leitrim’s championship fields, but they won’t be scouring the history books either to weigh up their chances in the Intermediate Final. Statistics in this grade mean nothing to them. The only concern they will have is how they perform on the day, with the big prize of Senior championship participation next year awaiting the winners. For the Minor Final there will be no scouring of archives to figure out the likely winners. The players themselves will look no further back than their last meeting, they couldn’t care less how many titles Ballinamore or Glencar Manor have already. The only title of interest to them is the one at stake on Sunday. In the Under 13 Regional Competition Final the hands of history have surely no input, for this is a new initiative, a chance for our budding stars to get a taste of a big championship day. And who knows – it could be an Under 13 or a Senior goalkeeper who might do a Stephen Cluxton this weekend.
22-Sep-11 by Tommy Moran