Every weekend this summer has been packed to the gills with Gaelic Games and at times it feels like if you blink you will have missed something.

As the numbers of teams dwindle though there is breathing room and an ability to watch the matches you want to see, without the need for a matrix of recordings and playback strategies.

Saturday was Hurling and Camogie Day, and football was given over to the big ball this weekend.

Galway and Clare came through close affairs in the All Ireland Hurling Championships, albeit with games that lacked the higher quality of the previous weekend. Cork made sure of progress from the Glen Dimplex All Ireland Camogie and Armagh held Meath to an unexpected draw in the TG4 All Ireland group stage of the Ladies Football Championship.

It was in the unlikely surrounds of the Tailteann Cup though that perhaps the most enthralling games were played at Croke Park on Sunday and with the live cameras of the RTÉ Sunday game rolling.

Sligo and Cavan trips to Croke Park are a rarity, with poor Cavan’s run to the All Ireland Semi-Final taking place under the cloud of Covid.

Westmeath and Offaly have been more regular visitors even if in recent times as occasional fall guys for Dublin.

Yesterday though the players got to play meaningful games in the theatre through which their childhood dreams of representative football would be intertwined.

The Tailteann Cup double header drew just under 17,000 fans who looked sparse but often we obsess too much with the figures.

That number is more than you would get for Club Finals or on days of the Cumann na mBunscol Finals but for those who are there on the pitch, or for family, neighbour, friends and fellow travellers in the stands, what matters is being there yourself and forging lifetime memories.

In those circumstances, it is the fact that those who matter are there beside you or in front of you and if the Cusack stand is bare then what of it.

Cavan and Westmeath came through and will gather again with national silverware on the line and a special day to look forward to for those across the counties.

The entire population of Cavan, every man, woman and child is less than the capacity of the stadium, and that of Westmeath only marginally more so. We cannot expect that it will be full to the rafters and should not judge the importance of the competition or the appetite of fans by how many pay to come up to Dublin or indeed tune in to their televisions at home in three weeks time.

The supplies of bunting and flags in Blue or Maroon will be in short supply and it will be seen as the first All Ireland Final in a run of Five that will take us through the month that follows.

It will share billing at Croke park that day with the first of the All Ireland Senior Championship Football Semi-Finals between either Galway or Armagh and Derry or Clare, but the tournament and those backing it have done enough to ensure it will be embraced by those involved and noticed by those who are not.

That is a job well done in year one.

 

 

Sport for Business Partners