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Dublin: 16 °C Thursday 27 June, 2019
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Remembering Dublin legend Anton O'Toole, the curious case of Ben Te'o and the week's best sportswriting

Stick the kettle on and get stuck into this lot.

Cathal McAllister with Greg Kennedy Cathal McAllister scolds Dublin selector Greg Kennedy. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

1. YOU HAVE TO hand it to Gregory Kennedy.

(And sure even if you puck it at him, he’ll just catch it and throw it back.)

Ah, come on. I know we’re all supposed to be outraged but in fairness, if you had to pick out the most enjoyable thing from the first big championship weekend of the summer, you’d struggle to find better than the Dublin maor foirne catching the ball in the Kilkenny match in Nowlan Park on Saturday. Fellas can cry blue murder all they like – you just know that secretly they all have a small bit of admiration for him.

Darragh Ó Sé discusses Greg Kennedy’s infamous catch, plus the life of a maor foirne.

2. The point of hurling tactics is to multiply the abilities of players and not just add them up. Indeed, the view that the best players simply go out and win a hurling contest is a bleak one; that every game is won based on an aggregate of talent. Instead, the beauty of hurling is that it allows for a smart strategist to compensate for his players’ limitations.

Talent is all well and good, but in the end you have to organize it. A fevered dream is not enough – you need a strategy. Good managers wrap their system and game plan around the players at their disposal. A system of play helps players, it does not hinder them. A sturdy tactical structure gives players something to lean on. The system delivers the players to the ball in attack and in defense.

Brian McDonnell analyses what opposition teams can learn from Limerick’s 2018 hurling machine.

Te'o

3. The press seats at Sixways are dotted across a couple of rows in the west stand. It has been known for fans to lean over laptops and implore reporters to be kind. Conversations between supporters carry quite easily as well.

On the opening Saturday of this season, as Worcester and Wasps fought out a frantic Midlands derby, Warriors inside centre Ryan Mills surged over to score. After cheers died down, a woman turned to a fellow Worcester follower: “Why are we paying Ben Te’o? It is a fair question. The answer lies with former director of rugby Dean Ryan. Back in 2015, Ryan convinced then-Worcester owner Greg Allen to conclude a pain-staking…

Charlie Morgan on the curious case of big-earning Ben Te’o and what his story says about Worcester, England and Eddie Jones.

Anton O'Toole Dublin legend Anton O'Toole. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

4. Perhaps the only occasions I saw any hint of darkness pollute those forever giddy, kind eyes was when some random punter would say something negative about O’Gara.  What Anton valued about Eoghan were the things others declined to see:  The work-rate, the blue-collar graft, the tackling, the supreme loyalty to the team.

The last time I saw Tooler, last Friday, O’Gara and James McCarthy had just visited.

In a laboured whisper, Anton told me how moved he had been when O’Gara thanked him for all he had done for his career.  And a single tear rolled down that lovely, generous face.

It was a beautiful, heartbreaking, heart-soaring cameo.

Rory Curtis remembers his friend, the late Dublin legend Anton O’Toole.

5. Stephen Curry knows he is living basketball history, though he prefers not to dwell on it. For now, there are actual playoff games to consider. “When you’re in that battle,” the Warriors’ point guard says, “it’s hard to remove yourself from it.” The battle at hand is a fifth straight trip to the Western Conference finals, this one against the Trail Blazers, bold and resourceful. No good comes from taking Damian Lillard lightly. Unfortunately for Portland, no good comes from playing the Warriors at all.

As long as forward Kevin Durant is sidelined by a calf strain, expect Golden State to play with the edge of the challengers they used to be. Curry even extended the notion to his choice in footwear, sporting the 2015 vintage of his signature shoe as he dispatched the Rockets in Game 6 of the West semifinals. Clearly, they still fit. Whenever Durant returns, he will shift the Warriors’ style and reestablish the NBA’s most unsolvable offense. It might be enough, against many opponents, to run two stars of that caliber through even basic actions. Golden State has always endeavored for more—not simply making the most of Durant or Curry, but leveraging the space between them. The most powerful expression of their partnership is how easily offense can come to teammates like Klay Thompson or Draymond Green.

Sports Illustrated’s Rob Mahoney asks if this is the last stand of the Golden State Warriors.

dsds Source: Deadspin

6. I am the least reliable narrator when it comes to the story of my brain exploding. This is because, from the time right before I suffered a freakish brain hemorrhage last year to the time I regained full consciousness roughly two weeks later, I remember nothing. My mind is an absolute blank. It’s like the fabled pause in the Nixon Tapes. I was not here. That time of my life may as well not exist. Oh, but it did.

Deadspin writer Drew Magary on the night the lights went out and what followed

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