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Mirror mirror on the wall what's the fairest GAA competition of them all?

Stephen Bambrick has been feeling nostalgic ahead of this weekend's opening round of National League fixtures

Stephen Bambrick
January 26, 2024

Mirror, mirror on the wall, what's the fairest GAA competition of them all? "The league, my child, the league," home and away. Ballycran, Carrick on Shannon, or good old London Town - all potentially to be visited.

Promotion and relegation will take their course; you'll be at one match, keeping an eye/ear on about six others.

With local derbies not always guaranteed, when they do come, they can be a help or a hindrance depending on their outcome.

Our last round Div 3 Football clash with Laois in 2019, a case in point. Yours truly more engrossed in Ocean FM's commentary of Sligo v Offaly that it needed Tuesday's Nationalist to inform me of Daniel St Ledger's sending off at the game I was attending!

The rumor mill will have Joe Hayden/Hughie Gahan/Choo Choo/Brendan Murphy 'back in training', open the programme, not in the 24 anyway - surprise, surprise.

There'll be a former All Ireland winner, the Manager for some, learning the ropes before one day getting his native county job he'll hope - learning on the job.

Throw in some random new rule changes on trial, bring to the boil and simmer as your promotion/relegation may depend on a third party's help (that bloody Sligo/Offaly game springs to mind). Score difference, head to head, win them all - the handiest way, really.

"He's gone traveling, be a loss" when asked of some notable absentee. You're always better when missing, lads making their debut. NHL debut against Monaghan won't make many Laochra Gael episodes though.

Playing teams with nothing to play for but pride and with promotion in your own hands - two Carlow v Wexford NFL games in New Ross and Dr Cullen where on both occasions the home team emerged victorious, the traveling side licking wounds all the way home - another year in Div 4 guaranteed.

The weather could be anything; how much is the wind worth? It's only worth what you make of it as it hasn't boots or a hurl to move the scoreboard in your favour.

Tullamore in the hurler's epic relegation playoff the year with Offaly - Seanie Whelan giving thanks to the Lord. The 11th hour canceling of our trip to Belfast for the eventual coronation of our footballers - the wireless it is so.

Happy days.