Championship Time

The Ulster Senior Football Championship begins today, with Antrim facing Cavan at Casement Park in the preliminary round fixture. This year’s Ulster Championship promises to be the most open for many’s a seaon, with Derry’s National League triumph elevating them alongside perennial Ulster contenders Armagh and Tyrone as probable favourites- though Monaghan’s early form in the league suggests they’ll be in the reckoning. The BBC will be commencing their most impressive season of coverage to date, showing all but one of the provincial championship games live. For the first time, TV3 will also be broadcasting Championship matches. Their panel should make for interesting viewing, with both Peter Canavan and Joe Kernan confirmed as regular pundits (Kernan will also be working for BBC.) So, Sluggerites, who’s gonna win in Ulster this year, and can they (or anyone else for that matter) stop Kerry?

  • PeaceandJustice

    “The BBC will be commencing their most impressive season of coverage to date”

    Hardly surprising given the Nationalist/Republican bias within BBC NI – but it’s insulting to the greater number of licence payers given the GAA’s links with terrorism. Our minister for culture needs to have a word with the BBC. The Ulster-British community deserves equality.

  • RG Cuan

    There’s no point in commenting on P&J;ridiculous post.

    There’s an awful amount of talk about Ciarraí again but there are a few counties who can, and will, take them in the end.

    Doire have to be a contender this year and, although i’m biased, Ard Mhacha will also have a good run.

    As for today, home advantage should give Aontroim the boost they need. It’s a great aul day for it!

  • TyroneGAAmember

    Seriously cant something be done about this bigoted fool who keeps hijacking GAA threads?
    Cant you ban him from these threads or something Chris?

    As for the game
    Cavan will beat Antrim by 1-14 to 0-11
    Derry to win Ulster unfortunately.
    Kerry to take Sam.

  • Cuairteoir

    Sometimes you just have to laugh at pathetic comments like PeaceandJustice’s.

    Aontroim abú! Hopefully it’ll be a good start to the Championship.

  • ggn

    Lads,

    P&J;’s comments add to threads to my mind. Let his likes forever troll I say.

    I think Doire are going well, Ciarrai favourites, Ard Mhacha ,,, seans ar bith RG!!

  • RepublicanStones

    Hopefully Stephen o’Neill will have a change of heart, Tir Eoghain abu.

    I’d like to see Down have a good run, as it is a pleasure to watch Benny Coulter in full flight. Unfortunately i doubt he’ll get the chance.

  • Mick Fealty

    You can never entirely rule Donegal out. But this should be a good opener.

  • George

    Wicklow just beat Kildare. First time they have ever won at Croke Park. How does Mick O’Dwyer do it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Antrim boys versus Cavan men?

  • Mark McGregor

    Keep that up Mick we came straight back into it once you posted.

  • Mick Fealty

    I take it back…

  • Mark McGregor

    Mick,

    Will you shut up!

  • iluvni

    In truth is it only 3 or 4 games a year in Ulster GAA, that you see a big crowd?

    Today’s attendance didnt look anything worth raving about….on a par with the crowds at Irish league by the looks of it.

  • RepublicanStones

    Our Ma next for the Breffni boys, a big ask….perhaps too big?

  • RG Cuan

    Jaysus Aontroim were bad in the second half, An Cabhán have some nice forwards but it wasn’t a great match. The Galway Roscommon game wasn’t much better.

    GGN

    Ar theacht an tsamhraidh gach aon bhliain, bíonn trua agam do lucht an Dúin 😉

    ILUVNI

    Today’s match was played by the two weakest teams in Ulster, both with a comparatively small support. It was still a lot larger than any Irish League game and the Championship is only kicking off.

  • ggn

    RG,

    Antrim got spanked in the second half.

    Ta trua agam do mhuintir Ard Mhacha ar fus na bliana!

  • TyroneGAAmember

    RG Guan
    ”Today’s match was played by the two weakest teams in Ulster, both with a comparatively small support. It was still a lot larger than any Irish League game and the Championship is only kicking off.”

    No offence,But Cavan dont have a small support normaly,if you’ve followed ulster football for long you will know they usually have one of the largest in Ulster.They just have no faith in this team and management and havent travelled.

  • RG Cuan

    I’ve followed football for twenty odd years and i think it’s fair to say that at the moment An Cabhán have comparatively small support, when compared to Tír Eoghain or Ard Mhacha for example. Not travelling, for whatever reason, still means less supporters than usual.

    But sure they don’t have to travel for the next one and Bréifne will be full to welcome Ard Mhacha.

  • ggn

    And how will Ard Mhacha do in the championship this year RG? Are you hopeful?

    … and then theres the men’s team too!!

  • TyroneGAAmember

    RG Cuan

    Armagh complained about tickets last year against Donegal in Ballybofey/Ballyshannon and that they only got so few,yet they didnt even fill near the small number they got. Not exactly the numbers of the largest in Ulster.

    The teams with the largest support in Ulster has always been Tyrone,Armagh,Down and Cavan.

    Comparitively Donegal and Derry always had poor support until they got into All Ireland Finals and semi’s when the whole of ulster backed them.

    Cavan will leave it hard for Armagh,id say armagh by 3 in that but it will be tough for Liam O Donnell’s men.

  • RG Cuan

    Aye Gael Gan Náire, both teams will do well!

    Ard Mhacha will give Ulster a good aul rattle.

  • Cuairteoir

    Not exactly the numbers of the largest in Ulster. The teams with the largest support in Ulster has always been Tyrone, Armagh, Down and Cavan.

    Bit of a contradiction there TyroneGAAmember?

    Anyway, Antrim were firmly defeated. Just a usual Championship opener for the Saffrons 🙁

  • RG Cuan

    You mean Peter McDonnell TyroneGAA?

    The Red Hands didn’t have the best day in the hurley but i expect your football Championship will last a little longer. Looking forward to the Down challenge?

  • Mick Fealty

    I felt sorry for some of those Antrim players who were better than the team’s overall performance, but I have to say that I have never seen so many wides in one match. Not much more than a warm up for the main event.

  • Mark McGregor

    Mick,

    Too right, the wides ensured Antrim lost touch in the 2nd. I’d have liked to have seen them against a weak Armagh team.

    What I can never understand is how St Galls can be pretty consistent in the Ulster Clubs but the county team consistently fails to get anywhere.

  • Brendan, Belfast

    I would contribute to this discussion re Anrtim, but i am too depressed.

  • Where the f–k is Mick O’Dwyer and Wicklow in this thread? When Micko passes on, it can be truly said, ni bheidh a leithead ann aris. If he is not god, he is as near as it gets.

    Long live Wicklow! Long live Mick O’Dwyer. Long live Marxism Leninism.

    (The last one is a joke. All pinkos should be shot – unless they fit into Micko’s plans)

    For the unwashed: Wicklow have won their first championship game at Croke park under Micko, who is the most successful sports manager in GAA (or other) history. Taking all levels into account. Harry Redknapp ain’t bad either but he gets to rock with 2nd rate millionaires.

  • TyroneGAAmember

    yeh lads i meant Peter McDonnell sorry!!!!

    I think we should have too much for a Down team that really disappointed throughout the league after looking distinctively improved from last year during the McKenna Cup.
    They are still far too dependant on Benny Coulter,Although McComiskey will be dangerous
    The Likes of James Colgan havent progressed from minor level to push Down to the next level.

    Our Injuries have started to clear up,i think theres another ulster title in this team but a 3rd Sam is a step too far. Hopefully SON could be tempted back before the dark evenings return!!!!

    Congrats to the messiah Micko, The man is just a genius when it comes to Gaelic Football.

  • GAA

    “Comparitively Donegal and Derry always had poor support until they got into All Ireland Finals and semi’s when the whole of ulster backed them.”

    Derry’s support was as big as anyone in the country in the 1990s, but has been poor since the turn of the century alright.

    Its to do with the ultra competitive club scene they have. Its a GAA mad county, but club seems to come very much before county. A lot of Derry people want to see the county go out early so they can concentrate on the club scene. The Gaelic Life did research last year that found Derry club Championship games are attended on average twice as much as any other club championship in Ulster.

  • Harry Flashman

    Is the Derry county/city split still as strong or did ’93 change that?

    In my youth no one in the city followed GAA, it was and to a large extent still is a soccer town. So I was very surprised to see the triumphant cavalcades through the town on the Sunday they won the All Ireland, after that people who I only ever heard discussing Manyoo and Celtic were suddenly spending their summer Sunday afternoons at obscure football grounds in Cavan and Antrim.

    It was all a mystery to me but when I got into it it became a lot of fun, where they all fair weather supporters or is GAA still big in the city?

  • Doire abú

    The city’s starting to become more GAA orientated now. Its still has a way to go but it is now the biggest played sport in the city so thats good.

    But still South Derry and the western half of north Derry are the main strongolds, where the people literally eat and drink GAA.

    Good to see a team from the eastern half of north Derry (ie Eoghan Rua Coleraine) now in the senior Championship, a lot of hard work going on up there. Only Senior team who’s catchment area is majority unionist so its a credit to see them in the SFC.

    Also have to say P&J;first comment on this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Iluvni

    “In truth is it only 3 or 4 games a year in Ulster GAA, that you see a big crowd? Today’s attendance didnt look anything worth raving about….on a par with the crowds at Irish league by the looks of it.”

    The thing is, Casement Park is very big. The GAA still clings to an old-fashioned preference for very large, basic stadia that can accommodate huge attendances, but which only reach capacity once or twice a year, rather than smaller, more modern venues. The assumption tends to be that it’s better to have 35k people standing on terraces than 15k people sitting in comfort, and that it’s better to have a stadium that’s half empty most of the time but can accommodate those occasional monster-crowds, than a smaller, leaner ground that’s often full but turns away people from the really big games. It’s kinda egalitarian, in a way, but kinda old-fashioned too. The rule of thumb is that the most important thing is to ensure hardly anyone ever gets turned away from a big championship match. Which is why the GAA has such a vast number of grounds, which are mostly underdeveloped.

    However, Pairc Esler in Newry and particularly Healy Park in Omagh seem to be examples of a new direction in GAA grounds. Healy Park (cap c.20k) is being rewarded with an Ulster semi-final this year, taking it from the much larger but much less-developed Casement.

    Casement could comfortably hold about 33,000 – I remember being there for an Ulster semi-final in ’92 between Down and Derry when they officially squeezed in 35,000 but I reckon it was closer to 40. (There has been a lot of work done since then and Casement’s a much safer venue now though.) The crowd at yesterday’s game didn’t look all that impressive on TV, but I’d guess there was probably 15,000 at it. Not bad for a preliminary game between the two weakest sides in Ulster, between whom there is no history or rivalry.

    When the Championship really hits its stride, I’d say Armagh v Cavan will fill Breffni Park (c.30,000), Tyrone v Down will fill Healy Park Omagh (20,000), Derry v Donegal will fill either Celtic Park or McCumhaill Park (both around the 18,000 mark – I forget who has home advantage in that one). Monaghan v Fermanagh won’t trouble Clones’ 35,000 capacity but should draw 20k anyway.

    The semis (I expect Tyrone v Armagh at Clones and Monaghan v Derry at Omagh – I am right in saying Omagh’s getting a semi this year, aren’t I?) and final (Clones) should all be sell-outs.

    Of course there may be replays to factor into the equation as well. If they were to move the final to Croker again, attendances could hit 70k plus, but I can’t see that happening.

  • Mark McGregor

    Billy,

    Attandance was a little over 7,000 but there wasn’t many visitors from Cavan.

  • Michael Robinson

    Thanks for the info on attendances… I know nothing about GAA (I’m a rugby fan..) but found that interesting.

    Doing some quick sums, would I be correct in saying that the total attendances are about 185k from 8 games?

    Just for comparison, last season Ulster Rugby had about 140k from 13 games (excluding pre-season games) and about 4-5 of these were sell-outs (European and inter-pros)

    This season, attendances are down given Ulster’s dire performances.

  • pfhl

    In ligtht of the game being shown on TV on Suday, this will have also reduced the attendance. I know several who did not go as they could see it anyway. Me baing one. I’l be there for the Hurling though. I can not see them showing it