Monday, April 18, 2011

This Sporting Life - April 2011

1. Insightful article by David Walsh in yesterday's Sunday Times about Rory McElroy. The gist of it is that when the pressure comes on McElroy the flaws in his game show up. And, as I've often said, putting in his major weakness - particularly from about 8 feet in. He spurned at least a dozen opportunities from this range over the 4 days of the Masters. I doubt he'll ever win a major unless he solves this problem. And putting is famously impervious to remedial treatment. Remember the young Garcia and all the greatness that was predicted for him? He too had a putting weakness and is now a fading figure - all those predictions of fame and glory come to naught.

2. It was great to see the cavaliers of Leinster put Leicester, those roundheads of English rugby, to the sword last week. They did it by beating them at their own game up front and then unleashing the sublime Nacewa to apply the coup de grace. It was an efficient and pragmatic display and I can't see them failing to regain the Heineken Cup now. Meanwhile in Brive Munster were giving one of the great displays of back play in the history of European competition - with a little help from the local team. The back three of Howlett, Jones and Earls ran amok on the sun-baked turf. They will surely win the Amlin Cup now. We can also look forward to a Magner's League final between Leinster and Munster. This will be tight but will be won by Leinster because they have a stronger pack - especially now with O'Connell injured.

3. The hurling season is beginning to bubble up nicely. Who could have predicted yesterday's results. Dublin beating Cork in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, hapless Wexford drawing with Tipp in Thurles, and Galway losing again to Waterford. Tipp can probably do without a League final against Kilkenny at this stage of the season - they can deal with them in September. Declan Ryan is blooding a lot of new talent and it'll be fascinating to see who he picks against Cork. I can't see any challenge to Tipp in Munster this year and I have a sneaky feeling that Kilkenny are a team on the turn - too many trips to the well for a lot of them. Galway may be the big danger. We shall see.