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Shane McGrath Explains What Happens In Legendary Inter-County 'A vs B' Games

Shane McGrath Explains What Happens In Legendary Inter-County 'A vs B' Games
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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Where there is a truly elite team at inter-county level, you often hear about the intensity of their training sessions. That is especially true when it comes to competition within the panel.

It was often said that the most difficult games that Brian Cody's revered Kilkenny teams would have in a given year would be against their 'B' team, with lads rumoured to 'taking lumps out of each other' in training.

Healthy competition within a panel is certainly no bad thing, but what do these legendary 'A vs B' games actually entail? We have been given an insight into that by former Tipperary star Shane McGrath.


Speaking on this week's GAA Embedded, McGrath explained just how seriously the top counties take these games in the buildup to important championship fixtures.

Most of the top teams would take them very seriously.

From my own personal experience, and from talking to lads from other counties, how serious is it taken? Well it would be behind closed doors, in Tipperary it might be in Semple Stadium, Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Kilkenny in Nowlan Park, Limerick the Gaelic Grounds.

There is nobody watching. The top manager, who always talk about the one per cent, they will try to replicate everything before the game.

If it's an All-Ireland final, you might see teams doing the parade beforehand. They might be lining up to meet the President.

You hear of all these things so that you're making it more familiar. Some groups might try and recreate the noise of Croke Park through PA systems.

The game itself would be reffed properly. There will probably be umpires at the game, the ref will be a top inter-county referee or top referee from your own county.

It will be a done to a tee. There will be water breaks, they will be exactly a minute, they will come out. The puck outs won't be taken too quickly.

It's a sign of how good the group is in the 'A vs B' games. A lot of the time if the group is really ticking and really purring, you will find that the 'B' team are nearly beating the 'A' team.

That's a sign that the manager will want to start with one team, finish with his best team. Jim Gavin always used that term of 'starters and finishers', no subs anymore.

I think that's what you have nowadays with top inter-county panels.

What we want to know is who is cast in the role of Michael D. Higgins in all of this.

They certainly sound like serious affairs, showing that the top managers will leave no stone unturned in trying to get an advantage.


Listen and subscribe to GAA Embedded, our weekly GAA show released every Monday, here.

SEE ALSO: Rory Gallagher Gives Insight Into Why He Fell Out With Jim McGuinness

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