After a week which saw a mass Mayo exodus, a Canning controversy and the Super 8s lineup completed let’s take a look at some of the hottest GAA stories from the past seven days.
1) Up To 10 Players Walk Out On Mayo Ladies Team
One of the biggest stories of the week in all of Irish sports, ten of Mayo’s senior ladies team walked out on the squad on Monday following apparent player welfare issues.
According to the report which originally came from Mayo News, team captain Sarah Tierney, vice-captain Fiona McHale and all-time leading scorer Cora Staunton were among the players to have left the squad as well as selector Michael Hale.
The players in question released a statement via the Women’s Gaelic Players’ Association (WGPA) citing player welfare issues as their reason for quitting mid-season.
“We have stepped away from the Mayo panel for player welfare issues that are personal and sensitive to the players involved. Out of respect to the girls playing at the weekend and ourselves, we will not be commenting further. We wish the Mayo team well with their game on Saturday.”
The Mayo LGFA then released their own statement outlining how they are “acutely aware of the critical importance of player welfare” and that it is “fundamental to all coaching and management structures.”
An interesting story to keep an eye on.
2) Kildare Reach Super 8s
An incredible last couple of weeks for Cian O’Neill’s men has seen them advance to the inaugural Super 8s. A far cry from the team that went almost a full year without a victory.
The #NewbridgeOrNowhere saga seemed to galvanise the Lilywhites as they upset Mayo at St Conleth’s Park a couple of weeks ago and followed it up with a comprehensive eleven point victory over Ulster finalists Fermanagh on Saturday.
Kildare were clinical in their scoring and easily broke down a Fermanagh defence that had previously been so dogged earlier in the season.
Now that Cian O’Neill’s side are in the last eight they will fancy themselves to spring a couple more shocks and take advantage of their fantastic momentum.
3) Joe Canning Faces Punishment Over Use Of Branded Towel
A strange story from the GAA world this week, according to a report in Monday’s Irish Examiner, Galway GAA and Joe Canning could face punishment over the use of a branded towel in the Leinster SHC Final replay between Kilkenny and Galway at Semple Stadium on Sunday.
Canning used a RedBull towel to clean his hurley and according to The GAA’s Rule 1.18 (g), this is illegal as only sponsorships permitted to be displayed on match-days are those carried on a team’s jerseys and training gear.
The repercussions for a breach of this rule are a loss of expenses or disqualification from the competition, although neither of those punishments have been discussed with any real seriousness.
The Galway hurler is a brand ambassador for RedBull and broke the rule which was introduced in 2004 after ‘ambush marketing’ took place when bookmakers’ branding was spotted on hurleys used by players in an All-Ireland Semi-Final in 2003 between Wexford and Cork.
4) Hurling Quarter Finals Lineup Finalised
Clare will face off against Wexford and Limerick will battle Kilkenny in this years All Ireland quarter-finals after the Leinster final and the provisional quarterfinals were settled last weekend.
Galway defeated Kilkenny in the Leinster final replay to book their place in the semi-finals and await the winner of either Clare or their opponents Wexford who saw off the challenge of Westmeath by 11 points to advance to the quarterfinals.
The beaten finalist Kilkenny will face a tough game against Limerick who annihilated Carlow in their provisional quarter-final putting up 5-22 against their opponents 0-13.
5) Tipp’s Colin O’Riordan Set For AFL Debut This Weekend.
After earning an international rookie contract in the 2015 AFL draft combine, former Tipp star Colin O’Riordan looks set to make his debut for the Sydney Swans this week.
O’Riordan is a former minor All-Ireland champion with Tipperary. As a 16-year-old he won the All-Ireland minor championship in 2011. A year later, he did the same with the hurlers.
He made his senior football debut for the Premier County in 2014 and got to the U21 All-Ireland final in 2015 where they lost out to Tyrone
“To start the journey three years ago and now to be able to run out for my debut is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I came here,” O’Riordan told the club’s official website.
“That’s what I’ve come to Australia to do and I’m just absolutely stoked. I have a huge sense of pride and it just feels like all the hard work has paid off.”
It will be interesting to see the impact that O’Riordan has for the Swans during the remainder of this AFL season.