I’m not going to lie – at this time of year, it can sometimes be difficult to find GAA content for this column.

The provincial club championship games can of course be interesting, given the quality of the teams of show, but after a nearly non-stop year of matches, one could run out of things to say.

And then it landed into our lap: an image doing the rounds on social media, effectively a contract that a management team had drawn up for 2024, demanding commitment from players.

Anybody who was planning to go away for the summer, like people in their 20s sometimes do – could not be part of the panel; anybody even planning to take a holiday, or drink, during the championship would need to have approval from the management and the player leadership group.

There could be some merit in the desire to treat the league like the championship but, when it comes down to it, there’s a reason that one is one and the other is the other.

Nobody was ever remembered for going gung-ho in winning the league and then having nothing left in the tank.

Training session

Players in Dublin or Limerick (so we can rule those two out as locations for this mystery club) have to attend at least one training session a week and, beyond June, players are expected to renounce any other sporting commitments.

Perhaps the charter was drawn up with consultation from the players expected to abide by its conditions, but a word noticeably absent was ‘enjoyment’.

In his new book, This is the Life: Days and Nights in the GAA, broadcaster Ciarán Murphy notes how often you hear a championship-winning captain outline the torture and drudgery gone through to get to that stage – and, as he says, it’s such a “weird, negative framing of what should be the happiest day of your life.”

It’s should be about fun, Murphy says – and it’s hard to imagine that the fun will be in plentiful supply for that club in 2024.

Toy Show answers Ireland’s Call

Stevie from Kilkenny.

Fair play to Stevie from Kilkenny – showcasing the sporting gift ideas on The Late Late Toy Show is a plum role but it’s not an easy one.

Having given Patrick Kielty an insight into a few things that might be worth getting for the young athlete in your life this Christmas, the Kilkenny native then launched into Ireland’s Call – and it should be noted that he started with the lesser-known second verse, too.

Then, despite the fact that Peter O’Mahony and Bundee Aki were brought out to surprise him, he remained unfazed and was a worthy recipient of tickets for the Ireland vs Italy Six Nations Championship game next year.

It is noticeable though that it seems to be the case each year that the ‘sports guy’ on the Toy Show is indeed a guy rather than a girl – perhaps a two-hander might be in order going forward?

‘Disappointing but acceptable bracket’

Over the past half-decade – or more – Munster have experienced defeats in big games that have been chalked into the ‘disappointing but acceptable’ bracket.

As much as supporters would wish otherwise, the province had fallen from the elite tier of European rugby. Contending in the Celtic League and Champions Cup every year was not always possible.

Last season’s URC victory was a signal that things are improving again. So, in a counter-intuitive way, the fans of the southern province should be happy that Saturday’s 21-16 defeat to Leinster at Aviva Stadium left the other team unhappy too. Leading 10-0, Munster gave themselves a great platform but found themselves undone twice by half-time. Leinster can do that to teams and they obviously had a bit of extra motivation after last season’s semi-final loss.

Munster will know it’s a game they could have won and it will drive them on to avoid doing similar again. With European action looming on the horizon, they can take heart that while Leinster will be satisfied, they are ticking over nicely, too.

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