AS the curtain closes on 2022 and with Christmas day is on the horizon, I’d like to take a look back at a number of things that I was happy to see during this year’s GAA calendar season.
1 Death of defensive football
I think a change has been slowly happening for a number of years, but personally I think this year has put the final nail in the coffin of the dreaded blanket defensive football.
Now, teams in all of the divisions are openly trying to coach and play a more expansive style of football and I think it’s refreshing to see.
The Dubs began to buck the trend a few years back with their swashbuckling attacking style but there was still an element of keep-ball at times. This year, I felt teams were kicking the ball more often and trying to win a game as opposed to trying not to lose it.
2 Galway’s resurgence
I came up through an era when Galway football was particularly strong and during my college days I spent a few years in Galway during the times when they won their last two All-Ireland football titles.
I used to love the way they approached the game. When you think back on the likes of Pádraic Joyce, Micheal Donnellan, Sean Óg De Paor and Ja Fallon, they were just an exciting team to watch.
The current team took some small steps last year but I think that this year they really got the formula right and they’ve turned in some magnificent displays and reminded me of those successful teams of the past.
3 The All-Football Final
This year’s final will live long in the memory for not alone being a fantastic game of football but the two individual displays we witnessed that day where the best I’ve ever seen.
I took my son fan to the game and in the week after the game all he spoke about was David Clifford and Shane Walsh and rightly so.
For me there was two elements to last year’s All-Ireland final. The first being who was going to win the game and secondly who was going to come out on top between those two superstars because every score seemed to be better than the last one. Those two performances will be remembered forever and it was a privilege to be there in person with my son to witness them.
4. David Clifford
What more can you say about this amazing young footballer and after the year that he has had I think that he deserves all the plaudits that are coming his way.
For GAA people to sit and watch the kind of performances this man turned in for his college, his club and his county this year was just simply incredible.
With all the negative football and negative talk that has happened over the last five to ten years, I think the game needed a David Clifford. By God he is single-handedly turning the game on its head because now every kid in the country wants to be a flare player and want to showcase their skills. Maith thú David.
In my final article of the year next week, I will talk about my hopes for 2023 but for now all that is left to do is to wish you all a very happy Christmas.