The Hurling championship will hopefully spark to life this weekend when we have the Quarter-Finals between Dublin and Waterford and Cork and Galway. The games, the crowds, the match programmes, the consequences - they all get bigger this time of year.
All four teams battle it out for the chance to take on either of the big guns - Kilkenny and Tipperary, in the All-Ireland semis at Croke Park.
A lot of talk these days about tactics playing a bigger part in hurling - mainly due to Waterford's defensive strategy which brought them huge success until they came up short against Tipperary in the Munster final a couple of weeks ago. Kilkenny have played sweepers for a few years now and Clare adopted that tactic too to deliver a Liam MacCarthy a couple of seasons ago.
Anyway, it was interesting to read on GAA.ie Brian Hogan's viewpoint on the game since he's retired.
Hogan believes a team's hunger is still what drives them on more and that tactics only play a smaller part.
You can read the Brian Hogan piece here
This all brought back to me a famous Cyril Farrell quote when working as co-commentator for a Kilkenny game on RTÉ.
I recreated it in the illustration below-
Latest ‘Hurler on the Ditch’ focuses on the recent controversy when Dublin footballer, Davey Byrne, had his nose broken in an incident prior to the throw-in of a challenge game against Armagh.
There’s a good opinion piece here on the subject from the Irish Times’ Seán Moran http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/gaelic-games/gaelic-football/opinion-davey-byrne-incident-another-blow-to-gaa-reputation-1.2285035
Jim Gavin’s response last week to the incident was quite bizarre and in a week where Conor McGregor and the MMA took the nation’s attention, I thought I’d somehow combine the two sports for an illustration.
First idea was to put GAA players into an MMA Octagon arena, goal posts either end.
I went with the idea below though in the end, a sort of old school comic ‘Beano’ or ‘Dandy’ style bust up. Cloud of dust with legs and fists flying.
Due to the comical nature of the attempted cover up of the incident, I think it fits nicely.
The Wexford U21 hurlers eventually got over Offaly in the Leinster Semi-Final thanks to a much improved second half performance.
Some passages of play in the 2nd half were described in some quarters as "Samba Hurling", specifically
the goal that came about from Kevin Foley's knock down and Conor McDonald's deft little pass off the hurley to goal scorer, Cathal Dunbar. See video below.
It's then that I usually try to tidy drawings up, but I liked the rough sketch aspect to it and also had time constraints so I did something similar in the final version before adding colour in photoshop.
The fact that Wexford went on to claim the title then with a complete destruction of Kilkenny added to the Samba Hurling description even more.
Download free Hi-Res image below of the Hurler on the Ditch for you to print off at home -