Monday, April 6, 2009

Things we learnt

1 You don't win a league handily
At around 5.35 on Sunday evening, you'd have fancied it could actually be Liverpool's year. Rafa Benitez's side had filched another late late win on Saturday; a side does that enough times and you get the feeling there's a reason behind it all. And Man Utd were looking about as vulnerable as a teenager at his first disco, at 2-1 down to Villa they were leggy, shaky at the back, lacking ideas or energy and needed something special to save, let's face it, their league.

Then something funny happened. A United side that's been all about control, slowly passing teams to death rediscovered some of their sparky, dangerous selves and threw off the shackles. A Cristiano Ronaldo who'd again looked half disinterested and who Jumpthefence had decided was better off out of Old Trafford, showed just why he's be missed with the sort of goal nobody else would have scored (just like his first). A boy wonder became a boy hero with the spunky finish of Kiko Macheda in injury-time. It's exactly the sort of win that United needed for a bit of life, confidence and momentum and with Scholes, Rooney, Vidic and Ferdinancd likely back for Saturday, they might not be as there for the taking again. Too early for calling it, but United might have taken a large step to number 18.

2 The order of things in the hurling world
You can be sure there was some chuckling around the country - and not just outside Cork either - when the result Kilkenny 4-26 Cork 0-11 was heard yesterday evening. Jumpthefence isn't sure a Cork hurler actually said it, but there have certainly been inferences in the past few months that the last few All-Irelands mightn't have headed to Brian Cody's men if a different man was in charge down leeside. There's something distasteful and a little blind about that mentality, when Kilkenny have pretty well broken the mould with the generation of players they've got now.

They outwork, outplay, outfield and overpower opponents. They're relentless in blocking and harassing and they're clinical and ruthless in taking chances. There's noone who could have lived with them this past three seasons and it doesn't look like there's anyone who will for another three at least - blips in form and one-off shocks are always possible. For Cork, they'll need some serious kick if they're to write a happy ending to their story.

Other bits and bobs:
Wolfsburg's famous win - including a crazy goal - over Bayern here
Martin Samuel on the importance of invincibility
Ciaran Cronin in tribune on Trap's feat in Italy
And Eamonn Sweeney says what we're all thinking about the rte football panel

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