Kerry and Dublin will surely fill Croke Park but trying to call a winner at this stage is for the birds

According to our crude count, there were slightly more seagulls in the Dublin vs Cork game on Saturday evening than Carey and Mayo were attending the quarterfinals 23 hours later. For the first 15 or so minutes of Saturday’s second quarter-final it was really difficult to see the ball at times from our vantage point in the Upper Hogan stand, as were the number of birds circling around the stadium. By the time the second half of the Dublins vs The Rebels game got underway, most of the feathered interlopers had thrown in, undoubtedly seen enough as Dublin suffered an 11-point loss to Cork.

By half time those dabs were only leading 0-10 to 0-7 but – like the rest of us – Siegel knew the score. They knew they could have another ten minutes of fighting in Cork but Dublin’s victory was a fait accompli, By the time Daisy Farrell’s men won that second half, 0-11, 0-3, the aerial spectators were on the move, bored and separated like the rest of us.

On Sunday we were all back in the big cathedral, the birds and all. Maybe it was the scorching sun and a 1.45 p.m. throw-in, or maybe it was a fear of getting one in an eye, but there were too few seagulls to head to the airfield at Croke Park, the high-flying Galway and Armagh teams. served with. Spread over 100 minutes of thrill and football in the most memorable game of the year so far. Also forgettable for the frightening scenes between normal time and extra time, which will always leave a stain on a great competition.

By five o’clock in the evening the birds were back. As the skies darkened and a sea of ​​Armagh Orange began to seep out of the stadium, dozens of seagulls took up residence to delay the Carey versus Mayo game, perhaps in anticipation of another humming. Well, lightning rarely strikes twice, and so the madness of the first game was replaced by the mediocrity of the second game. Carey vs Mayo Part III fell somewhere between a tense and tight Part I from 12 March and a one-off league final on 3 April.

Like in Dublin the previous evening, Carey made and whispered his way against a resolute opposition during the first 40 minutes, which eventually ran out of gas and conviction. On Saturday, it was largely a matter of falling off the cork and allowing Dublin to go away to win a game they didn’t have to go past third gear to win. On Sunday, it was largely a matter of Mayo falling and not having to go past third gear to win, allowing Carey to go away to win a game.

As Carey pulled away from the tired-looking Mayo, it was hard not to feel less-revenge – and there is some sympathy – as James Horan’s tenure as Mayo manager ended for a second time, again after losing the championship to Carey. Afterwards.

What Daisy Farrell and Jack O’Connor may have learned from the weekend – about their own team and their now semifinal opposition – is what will be on their mind for the next fortnight, or 11 days. While the players love the idea of ​​getting games every two weeks, the quick turnaround between the quarter-finals and the semi-finals is not a lot of time for the two managements to put together their best plans.

Clearly related injuries will be a concern in both camps. There are Jack Barry (calf) and Adrian Spillane (hamstring) on ​​the table for Carey’s treatment, and David Clifford will be the subject of concern (and endless speculation) between here and the All-Ireland semi-finals. Rumors of his passing – or the death of his calf in particular – before the quarter-finals were thankfully wide of the mark, but a new ankle injury, suffered two minutes into Sunday’s game, was undoubtedly set for next week. His training would be hindered and a half.

One or two other Kerry players required medical attention at the end of the game, and while nothing appeared serious or concerning, any interruption to Carey’s three remaining high-intensity training sessions would not be helpful.

Dublin didn’t see any injury problems from the Cork win; Rather, his most pressing concerns were before that game. Conan O’Callaghan and James McCarthy missed out due to unspecified injuries, and common knowledge is that Farrell will need O’Callaghan, at least, if they beat Carey to reach their seventh final in eight years.

Like Kerry on Sunday, Dublin on Saturday was good, but not great. Of course, ‘good’ was good enough in both cases. In public, Jack O’Connor and Daisy Farrell would be happy that their teams got a fair test at Croke Park, while at the same time not having to show their full hand. Privately, a skeptic, both would be concerned about Jung this week and a less than reassuring performance by many individuals and collectively.

On the plus side for O’Connor, there was another clean sheet – the team’s 12th goal not to score in 14 games this year. Tom O’Sullivan was back at his best scoring, while Graham O’Sullivan, Jason Foley and Tadhag Morley have anchored in a well-structured defense as dependable columns.

David Moran – who turns 34 today – shaved seven years of his age with a stellar performance in midfield that was not only encouraging but absolutely necessary in the absence of Barry and Spillane.

Up front Paul Geany – except for a short lull in the first half and shot on the goal that he dragged wide – was all momentum and pace and intent. Stephen O’Brien made a pretty decent change, and Sean O’Shea was quietly dominant, even if he didn’t do his best.

Of concern for Carey management this week is Diarmuid O’Connor’s continued poor form in midfield, the fact that Paudie Clifford was kicked out of the game (albeit in the best half-back of this generation, Lee Keegan). by one) and Shane Ryan’s panic under the dropping ball.

Carey will also need to decide how they deal with Ivan Comerford’s restart: whether they pressure the Dublin kick-out and force him to go long where Brian Fenton, Tom Laiffe, Brian Howard And possibly, will James McCarthy be incognito, or give up on Eoin Merchan, John Smalls, Sean Buggler and Lee Gannon and give up their possession – which was as effective against Cork as it was against Tom O’Sullivan Mayo?

Therefore, there is a lot to consider and work on this week at Fitzgerald Stadium and Dublin’s Eisfels training base, where game plans will be drawn up and rehearsed, and injuries and knocks will be worked out.

Almost every expected month will first meet on 10 July: Carey playing Dublin for a spot in the All-Ireland final.

Ten days for both camps to get their home in perfect order.

Ten days for David’s ankle and Conn’s hamstring/knee/calf/ankle/foot for all others to say novenus.

Ten days before playing the waiting game, 82,300 bums fill seats at Croke Park.

There will barely be room for seagulls.