BOYLAN TALKS SPORT: Do not adjust your TVs - this is not a drill

These are the voyages of Boylan Talks Sport. Our mission: to boldly go where this writer has never gone before. Defending the amateur ethos of the GAA.

No, I haven’t changed my view that inter-county players should be afforded some form of remuneration for the commitment they dedicate which is professional in all but name.

However, just as strongly, the view is held that - in some instances - to ask club players to operate under the same parameters as those at county level is as unreasonable as it is unfair.

It appears the Association’s silly season was delayed this year to coincide with April Fool’s Day. To fill in the blanks here, for reasons best known to themselves, the Brains Trust decided to introduce three new playing rules. Not only mid season, but with competitions well and truly underway.

Two of them admittedly have merit - injured players have to leave the field to get treated. Unless the case is a serious injury where moving the player may be ill-advised.

Secondly, a hurler who removes their helmet due to injury or has it removed in the course of treatment of an injury must leave the field. Only returning to play from the halfway line at a break in play. With the go-ahead of the referee.

Nobody would have any issue with either of the above. However, as if to conform to their penchant for taking two steps forward and one step back, they threw in an odious amendment along with the two decent alterations.

Changing a rule which has been in situ since God was a gasun. There was absolutely no need to trifle with at all. But, if they were intent on doing at inter county level, fair enough, but asking all levels of club players to abide by same is plainly asinine. To the extent that I would be fairly confident the amendment will be amended at the very least.

You see, the rules have been altered to the effect that, in matches that go to extra time, players sent off during normal time in a match cannot be replaced. Furthermore, yellow/black cards flashed during normal time now carry over as to tie in with the new idiocy, extra time is no longer considered the start of a new game.

Now, I know there will be a cohort who will muse that it’s common sense and puts the onus on teams to manage their discipline. Both are valid points, but I just don’t feel it’s a one size fits all, broad brushstroke type of issue.


Unfortunately, the notion of shooting oneself in the foot again appears hereafter. At the time of typing, no reasons have emerged regarding why Martin O’Halloran resigned his positions as Hurling Committee Chairperson and Leinster Council delegate.

What needs no further elaboration is the incalculable loss Martin will be to Meath GAA in general, both to the promotion and development of hurling within the county and indeed further afield.

Martin O'Halloran. Photo: Gerry Photo by Gerry Shanahan

I first crossed paths with the jovial Rathmolyon clubman when he was founder and editor of one of the periodical GAA magazines of the time, GaelSport, I think, and as our dear departed mutual friend Liam Cahill used to ponder, the real mystery was how it took so long for Meath GAA to get him on board and harness his undoubted talents to their benefit.

Since he did come aboard the good ship Royal, his dedication to and passion for all things hurling has been nothing short of inspirational.

How cruelly ironic, then, that in a week when the small ball code in this county has been hit with two administrative earthquakes commensurate to anything going on on the island of Ireland politically, the county’s Minor and U-20 hurlers bagged stirring results against Wicklow and Westmeath respectively.

It’s surely not rocket science to consider that the two eruptions which have left Meath hurling inconvenienced at best, badly wounded at worst, to be connected.

Moreover, you wouldn’t need to be possessed of Hawking-esque smarts to deduce that the whole situation will have a similar effect on Meath’s Joe McDonagh Cup preparations as would turning on the straw chopper while cutting your best field of barley. For those not agriculturally inclined, look it up on YouTube, it’ll make perfect sense!

Forget about the short term, the loss of Martin O’Halloran to Meath GAA is every bit as catastrophic as either of the political stinks which have emanated in recent weeks.

You can take one thing as read - his talents will be in demand across any number of spheres, some which might raise eyebrows. We can but hope that time will be a healer and that Martin might be tempted back into the fold again. He’s too good a man to be cut adrift.


We must all be mindful that pressure is for tyres. Last week, this column expressed the hope that the county Minor and U-20 football teams would have a right rattle at attaining honours this season. That hope is still fervent at the time of typing.

Yes we know last week’s outing against Kildare didn’t go to plan for the Minors, but you can be sure nobody will be more annoyed by that fact than the players and mentors themselves.

Joe Cowley’s charges had actually got off to a flyer thanks to an Evan Kelly goal and points from Dunboyne’s Jack Doyle and the very talented Pat Crawley of Oldcastle.

Meath's Thomas Sheridan and Evan DeMange challenge Kildare's Evan Boyle in Stamullen on wednesday last. Photo: David Mullen/ Photo by David Mullen

However, a Mick O’Toole goal and phalanx of points from Harry Donnelly gave the all whites a grip on momentum which never relented as they ran out deserving winners.

Mind you, thankfully, youngsters tend not to dwell on things as much as us older observers. A wounded lion is a very dangerous beast. With Louth having struggled to beat 13-man-Westmeath it’s still all to play for in Hunterstown on Wednesday evening.

“If that’s the law sir, then the law’s an ass"

“If that’s the law sir, then the law’s an ass” is a quote from some movie or TV show or other, and, were it not for the fact that it could work out in Meath’s favour, it would be wholly applicable relating to the structure of the Leinster U-20 FC.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a long-time advocate of competitions being run on a group basis, but surely three teams coming out of a four team group is a little over generous. However, to quote Captain Mainwaring from Dad’s Army “Ours is not to wonder why, ours is just to do or die”.


Owing to the lunacy that is now GAA fixture making, the Leinster SFC is upon before the land is dry enough to let cattle out. For now at least, it is what it is. And, in the lead up to any championship campaign, greatest intrigue can often be in predicting what the starting 15 might be. I’ll leave you for this week with my guess:

Sean Brennan; Ross Ryan, Adam O’Neill, Brian O’Halloran; Adam McDonnell, Donal Keogan, Sean Coffey; Ronan Jones, Cian McBride; Daithi McGowan, Matt Costello, Cathal Hickey; Shane Walsh, Eoghan Frayne, Ruairi Kinsella.