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The 6 Unavoidable Cliches Of The 2015 Championship Season

The 6 Unavoidable Cliches Of The 2015 Championship Season
By Conor Neville

Arguably, lists compiling cliches have become a cliche at this stage, but having acknowledged that point, we can move on. Inescapable stuff here:

It's a game of chess

Gerry Adams's bilingual twitter account is usually good for tweets about solitary sheep in fields, Christy Moore songs, and updates on the mood of the account holder's teddy bear, 'Ted'.

However, during the Ulster Final, he was one of those to reach for the go-to-cliche of 2015.

Pat Spillane's hostility towards massed defences has become old-school in recent times, and been replaced by earnest intrigue about the nature of modern Gaelic football tactics.


Sky Sports have sought to capitalise on this new-fangled sentiment, branding themselves as the diligent antithesis to the alleged sensationalism of the Sunday Game. One wouldn't be surprised to learn they'd hired Garry Kasparov to do some analysis of a few qualifier games in Clones next year.

How long before Gaelic football managers are placed on the same pedestal as Gridiron gaffers, orchestrating complex plays from the line?

They haven't been tested yet


By the end of July, we still knew nothing. The football had been on a few months but pundits everywhere were keen to stress the unknowability of it all.

Mayo, Dublin, Kerry. When asked about their progress, it was obligatory to begin your summation by saying 'Well, we really don't much about them, because they haven't been tested yet at all.'

Tommy Carr even went so far as to suggest that Kerry hadn't been tested yet after their demolition of Kildare. Hadn't been tested at all, he said. In the championship.


Not even the drawn Munster Final, in which Fionn Fitzgerald had to rescue Kerry with the last kick of the game, passed Tommy's definition of a test.

Even entering injury time and trailing by a point, Tommy must have felt that Kerry were still more or less at their ease.

Needless to say, a proper test at this stage could be the death of them.



Sure they were only in second gear throughout

Many's the underdog has ruffled a favourite's feathers, and felt pathetically proud of themselves afterwards, only to be landed back down to the earth by the sceptics' observation that their opponents hadn't really got out of second gear all day.


Kilkenny and the Dublin footballers are routinely credited with mauling teams while not bothering to shift the metaphorical gear-stick into third.

It's an unscientific observation on the whole, but is an effective way of sounding both disenchanted and superior, while making losers feel more shitty about themselves.

Throwing off the shackles

Teams have been breaking free of their shackles for years now, but the phrase has been ubiquitous in the 2015 championship.


One is inclined to wonder who the hell is placing these shackles on players. It does them a fat a lot of good.

For, it's been apparent for a long time now that teams play considerably better when they dispense with the shackles.

NOTE: The second half of the All-Ireland hurling final appeared to be a rare incidence of a team who began without shackles but chose to put them on at the half-time break.


Pete Finnerty neatly explained to Off the Ball how the art of sledging had changed throughout the years. Except, he probably didn't call it sledging.

The practice of fellas abusing each other on the pitch long pre-dates the 2015 season, though the word 'sledging' (imported from cricket) has only been affixed to the practice in a GAA context in recent times.

Some referees were ultra attuned to this great evil of modern game, somewhat overly so, as was clear when Brian Gavin booked Joe Canning for sledging during the Galway-Dublin replay.

Shouting 'YEEESSSS' very loudly in someone's face after scoring a goal does not a sledge make.

Marquee forward

It's sometimes hard to identify the exact difference between a marquee forward and a regular forward.

Debate raged earlier in the year about whether Cillian O'Connor was deserving of the tag 'marquee forward'. Despite his prodigious scoring record over the past five years, many felt he had more to do secure marquee status.

The debate was reminiscent of Alex Ferguson's contention that Steven Gerrard was not a 'top, top player' and was merely a 'top player'.

Occasionally it can seem that the real definition of a marquee forward is a forward who is more likely than his colleagues to be namechecked and described as such in the national media.



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