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Five things we learned from the GAA weekend: Louth just the latest to break a Meath record

Limerick’s season is going exactly how they would want; Dublin wind it up; Keith Rossiter’s Wexford revival; and those bloody abacuses

Louth end 49 years of waiting in style

It has been a decade of neighbourly record-breaking where Meath are concerned. Old stats have tumbled, but not in a manner the Royals would have wanted.

Louth’s win on Saturday was the first time the Wee County had beaten their northeast neighbours in the championship since 1975. After 49 years of hurt – and there had been no shortage of that for Louth – they finally put one over Meath.

It has taken just nine years for several records to be rewritten.

In 2015, Westmeath made history by beating Meath for the first time ever in the championship.


Then, in 2020 Dublin hammered Meath by a record 21 points in a Leinster final at Croke Park – the only saving grace for those of a green and gold persuasion being that nobody was in attendance to witness the defeat due to Covid restrictions.

Throw in Longford’s Leinster victory in 2018, a first championship win over Meath since 1982, and you get the picture – it has not been a wonderful few years for the Royals.

And while it was no massive surprise that Louth won on Saturday, the manner of the loss and for the gap to be 10 points at the final whistle ensured it was a sobering day for Meath football. But only the latest one. – Gordon Manning

Limerick are exactly where they want to be

Limerick are devoted to data and half an hour after the final whistle in the Gaelic Grounds, John Kiely had seen enough of the numbers to know that their “averages” were up on last year. Their key performance targets are not a matter of public knowledge but over the years it has not been difficult to build a personality profile of the team.

On Sunday, entirely in character, they had 48 shots at the target, not one of which was for a goal. (One of their recorded 19 wides was an intended pass that skipped over the endline). In his post-match comments Kiely suggested that most of their 14 first half misses were shots that were “on”, even though it seemed that on occasions players were shooting a little hastily, or slightly off balance, when there was space to move into or an option to play the ball inside.

And partly as a consequence of their permission to shoot on sight Aaron Gillane failed to score from play for the second game in a row. A lot of ball was flying over his head.

Kiely was irritated by the wides but not the impulse that caused them. “I think the reaction [to the wides] is probably the most important thing,” Kiely said. “They didn’t allow it to dent their confidence or their ability to go back and do it again. I’ve always said to them, ‘Keep shooting, keep shooting, keep shooting. Get your shots off.’”

In the second half, against a significant wind, they had 21 shots, and just five misses.

The half-forward line has been the lungs of this Limerick team since they started winning All-Irelands and their output has returned to peak levels. After a dip in form Tom Morrissey was good against Cork and very good on Sunday. Gearoid Hegarty has had a terrific championship and Cathal O’Neill – who spent a lot of time at 11 against Waterford – has been one of Limerick’s three best players this year.

In the post-match DJ set the third song was Just Can’t Get Enough by Depeche Mode. That would be their defining personality trait. – Denis Walsh

Dublin ride the winds of change

No visiting manager would be as familiar with the demands of Pearse Stadium as Dublin’s Micheál Donoghue, who played for Galway and in 2017 managed the county to a first All-Ireland title in 29 years.

The venue, perched on Salthill’s seafront, is well-known for the at times ferocious breezes that sweep through the ground.

On Sunday, Dublin won the toss and decided to play against the wind for the first half.

Their management of the conditions was excellent – assisted by David Burke’s red card reducing Galway to 14 as early as the 17th minute – playing a possession-based game into the wind before harnessing it after the break when they turned around a two-point deficit with six unanswered points immediately on the resumption.

“It’s very hard here and obviously it’s a decision we had discussed with the players,” Donoghue afterwards. “We spoke about it and when we did win it, decided to play against the wind and hope that the first 10 minutes would take a while to settle and negate what they do and keep it down.”

That was what duly happened. Seán Currie’s goal within 40 seconds was one of just two scores for Dublin in the first 15 minutes. It just about kept the visitors in touch and minutes before half-time, Dónal Burke got a second that provided further soakage for Galway’s climbing points total.

Henry Shefflin had this to say.

“I think the early goal probably hurt us a little bit. It gave them a good footing against the breeze and the breeze was going to be a big factor in it. Then the sending off happened and it had a big bearing on the game.”

It was Dublin’s first hurling championship victory in the West, six years after Galway were allowed home fixtures in the Leinster championship. – Seán Moran

Wexford’s return from the brink

Keith Rossiter continues to impress in his first year as Wexford senior hurling manager. It could have been very easy for their season to drift off course after the opening two rounds of the Leinster SHC. Dublin pillaged a draw with two late goals when the sides met in the first game of the round-robin and then the following week Wexford suffered a two-point defeat to Antrim in Belfast. After two rounds, they were fifth in the table and with matches against Galway and Kilkenny still to come. It didn’t look great.

However, they delivered a powerful display to beat Galway 1-28 to 0-23 – a result that revived their season. Ultimately, that win changed everything and on the head-to-head record they finished above Galway in the table. In the end they were within one score of making the Leinster final, battling until the final puck against Kilkenny last Sunday. If nothing else, it shows there is spirit in this Wexford group.

“I’m proud of the lads,” said Rossiter afterwards. “They don’t give up, which is a great trait to have. Hopefully we’ll bring that to the All-Ireland series.” – Gordon Manning

It all just adds up

There are basically five days in the intercounty calendar when GAA people have to worry their pretty little heads about permutations. The last day of the hurling and football leagues, the last day of the hurling round-robins and the final day in the Sam Maguire and Tailteann Cup group stages. And still they bring people out in hives.

To listen to broadcasters talk about this stuff, you’d swear that keeping across the comings and goings of two matches at the same time was a feat of mathematical wizardry on a par with cracking the enigma code. It’s adding and subtracting. You learn it in second class.

But no, all you hear is chortling references to having to get the calculators out. And fair enough, they’re mostly just throwaway gags so there’s no harm done. Still, it’s a bit of a cop-out. Worse, it runs through the coverage.

As the two Leinster hurling matches came down to the final 10 minutes on Sunday, neither GAAGo nor RTÉ had a running As It Stands table on-screen. They flashed one up for a few seconds occasionally but for the casual fan who just turned on the TV, there was no way of instantly knowing what the lie of the land was. Not even just a strip along the bottom saying who was heading to the final and who lay third. Nothing.

These are such easy wins. Why not take them? – Malachy Clerkin