Friday, June 21, 2024

Jason Keelan: Can Gaels stamp on the Big 3?

2005. The year a short video called “me at the zoo” was uploaded to a new site called YouTube. And so began a trend which has expanded since that 19-second clip of one of the “Big 5” (elephants) in San Diego.

It was also the year that the Westmeath Senior Hurling Championship last had a winner not from the so-called “Big 3” – Raharney, Clonkill, Castletown-Geoghegan. The trend since then has been, to say the least, predictable, despite the best efforts of the challengers. In fact, only five times since have we been privy to deciders that did not feature two of those three dominant forces.
On that autumn day in 2005, it was John Paul Murray who captained Castlepollard to a thumping of Lough Lene Gaels. The Collinstown men boasting some familiar names at the time, some of whom were part of the first-ever Christy Ring victors not long previously in the maroon. Among those lining out almost two-decades ago was young Derek McNicholas (he hit a wonder sideline too). This Sunday, the evergreen Derek and his teammates will be hoping that victory can change the landscape of hurling at the top-table of Westmeath.

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