Breakfast with Brennan: Gaelic Football goes on trial

OpinionBy John Brennan
Mark Lynch, Derry, left, and Stephen Cluxton, Dublin, shake hands before it all kicked off
Mark Lynch, Derry, left, and Stephen Cluxton, Dublin, shake hands before it all kicked off

You suspect that the High Command of the GAA will not be able to enjoy the weekend's sport as well as the rest of us.

We've the Masters golf ongoing, the Grand National to enjoy tomorrow and there are some cracking soccer matches coming up over the next few days, not least the Manchester derby on Sunday and a Madrid derby in the Champions' League on Tuesday.

But what may come between the GAA lads and their sleep is the fear of what will unfold in Croke Park on Sunday for the National Football League semi-finals.

The opener sees Donegal, who have brought defensive Gaelic Football to its height over the last four years, take on Cork who have been funnelling men back at every chance so far in 2015.

And then we have Dublin, who are not going as gung-ho as in 2013 or 2014, facing Monaghan who have been trimmed by the Dubs the last two times they played them, including just last Sunday.

How do you think Monaghan are going to play? There's every likelihood that they will 'park the bus' in Croker on Sunday afternoon.

Given that there are no other big GAA games of note on Sunday, if we get two games that end with scorelines of 0-9 to 0-7, they will gather huge publicity and the whole 'Gaelic Football is dead' debate will spark into life again - just when it had gone away for a while.

If it happens, maybe there will be a little bit of extra focus on the managers who are clearly ordering these tactics. In the last two weeks, there were a couple of smashing Under-21 Finals in Leinster and Connacht in which football was played as it should be and in which 4-22 and 6-24 were scored in the games respectively, even though both matches were only of 60 minutes duration.

Those managers told their players to go out and play football. What are the senior bosses doing?