*Action begins this weekend in the Clare SHC with four games down for decision on Saturday.
It may be argued that the GAA is more political than political organisations themselves, off-the-field antics can certainly strengthen this theory across multiple aspects of the Association.
With that in mind, we put the thinking caps on or attempted to, and equated each team in the Clare SHC with an Irish politician of this era, illustrating similarities between the side in question and the individual referenced alongside them.
Newmarket-on-Fergus – Gerry Adams: Burdened by a past which includes the good, the bad and the atrocious. Depending on the narrative espoused, the history is either cherished or chastised. ‘They haven’t gone away you know’.
Feakle – Roisin Garvey: Never one to back down in an argument. Sticky operators who are quite vocal in putting forward their viewpoints and not daunted by a challenge. If things click, capable of going a long way.
Whitegate – Joe Carey: On the scene for a while but quietly going about their business with little fuss or fanfare. Saves their best for the big day. As has been demonstrated down through the years, write them off at your peril.
Clonlara – Cathal Crowe: Prominent on social media and capable of big results when things come together. Results can also be inconsistent with plenty of critics quick to raise a hand when the desired outcome is not achieved.
Sixmilebridge – Simon Coveney: Not everyone’s cup of tea but a solid track record cannot be denied. Whether it’s Brexit or constantly remaining a force at all levels, it cannot be denied that they step up when the need is greatest.
Ballyea – Mary Lou McDonald: Undisputed that this is the coming force with a serious groundswell of support behind them. Mobilising the troops at all levels in an effort to make their period of dominance count.
Clarecastle – Timmy Dooley: Has delivered in the past which can annoy political rivals but statements and promises from yesteryear are also not forgotten. Things could easily fall into place again to make the sun shine.
Broadford – Martin Conway: Have been in the mix for a while but have struggled to generate serious momentum at the top level. It can be a surprise that a genuine contender isn’t a label affixed here given the ability.
Cratloe – Micheál Martin: When others said success wasn’t possible, the odds were defied. Capable of turning things around against the tide. High level of commitments and involvements can detract from concentration.
O’Callaghans Mills – Joe Cooney: Will always roll up the sleeves to get the job done, the sleeves may not be fashionable but such viewpoints don’t come into consideration in those parts. Certainly worthy of moving up another level.
Éire Óg – Simon Harris: Has packed a lot of activity into recent years to become a very influential force. Ambitious and determined to have further success.
Kilmaley – Michael McNamara: Outspoken and not afraid to go against the party line, developing a good run of form but has been on the fringes for some time. Recent form and ability mean contender status is certain when approaching the final furlong.
Scariff – Violet-Anne Wynne: Not who is arguably identified from the get-go to deliver but without question capable of defying the odds. On the flip-side, things could go wrong when errors could easily be avoided.
Clooney/Quin – Shane Talty: Maybe not the name on everyone’s lips when it comes to predicting a winner, the under the radar approach is one not to be scoffed and a bright future is on the cards if all cards are played well.
Inagh/Kilnamona – Stephen Donnelly: Possess a bundle of well-thought out strategies and prospects but execution and delivery has proven to be a flaw. Scratch beneath the surface and achievements will be found.
Crusheen – Leo Varadkar: Came from nowhere in the past to carve out their greatest days. Well able to manoeuvre from a sticky situation through proven tactics. New ideas can help to create a resurgence.
Smith O’Briens – Richard Boyd Barrett: Based in the urban surroundings but a plucky streetfighter who will never walk away from a fight, but likely start it. Going against the odds will not deter but rather inspire.
Wolfe Tones – Eamon Ryan: So much potential but somehow delivery has proven too hat to handle. Proper application and the avoidance of pitfalls would greatly strengthen the cause. Make no mistake, this is a sleeping giant.