National Forum

(So Called) Weaker Counties

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Replying To Rolo2010:  "How is this relevant? The GAA has come along way since the 1890s. Donegal county board was founded in 1905 but there are records of gaelic games being played before that.

I'm not sure what your point is. Weaker counties weren't responsible for the decline of gaelic games. The British, mass emigration, the Famine. Take your pick. Why should those counties be ignored because the strong back then are still strong today. Laois won the All-Ireland in 1915 so you were wrong on that."
I forgot Laois. Okay so other than 12 of 135.

It is just an historical observation and has nothing to do with being ignored. Not even sure who is supposed to be ignoring them?

BarneyGrant (Dublin) - Posts: 660 - 22/02/2022 19:18:37    2401977

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "Was listening to a few of the lower division games that went ahead yesterday and was wondering, apart from Dublin say, how come Sligo, Leitrim, Waterford, Carlow, Wicklow, Antrim etc..how come there are not minimum 15 top class footballers in these counties to compete with their so called counterparts of stronger counties, and as we know not every county has 15 but will have 11 or 12 or so..take Sligo fie example, Paul Taylor for example one of the top forwards in Ireland when he played, Tipperary had Declan Brown, Carlow had Johnny Nevin and Garvin Ware to mention 2..how come they dont apparently have enough to put out a formidable team capable of winning at least a provincial or a league (not these Mickey Mouse Divisional finals everyone forgets about outside those winning them)..absolutely no disrespect to any of the counties mentioned as examples, we all see they have and have had very good players, why dont they progress..I was listening to Sam Mulroy of Louth being interviewed after they beat Limerick, a top class player and scorer, but no doubt will fade away in time like David Reilly, Colin Kelly and Mark Stanfield, how is it with players like those, these counties dont win and progress more..all observations welcome.."
Fairplayalways, your question is a loaded one and the accuracy of the answer to it will depend on which county it's coming from, to put it all into context div.4 is the weakest of the 4 divisions it's really that simple. I have seen top class players come and go on successive Carlow teams; they can't display their talents or improve on their skills because they play div. 4 football year on year. I would avoid debating the issue of weaker counties with one of the elite, simply because it mostly finishes with the "us" and "them" scenario.

The LGFA released a powerful ad a short while ago with the financial backing from Lidl called "Level The Playing Field." Their quest for integration and equality may be realised at next Saturday's annual congress, the lgfa have an ambition to become competitive and challenging sooner rather than later, they sign off by saying "It's not over 'till we say it's over"

likewise men who play their football in a weaker county than others should be making the similar demands.

supersub15 (Carlow) - Posts: 2625 - 22/02/2022 20:03:49    2401984

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "I would disagree, Carlow, Sligo players and other similar counties I am sure train almost identical to those with the exception of Dublin and maybe Kerry and i am only mentioning the latter 2 out of them being leading with number of titles..is there such a massive difference in the training Sligo and Carlow do this week compared to Galway and Cork say two big counties that haven't won in a good few years...I doubt it very much..Leitrim the same.."
Ah nah, come on now. That's really not the case. The so called weaker counties are simply not doing the work of the top counties, even excluding those you named. They'd like to tell you they are, but they're really not. They may do the work a Kerry/Mayo/Dublin did 20 years ago, but current sports science/analysis/S&C/techniques are far beyond them and they're always behind. A brother of mine lives in a weaker county and has some involvement in football there, and he has stories of the way they go about things there that would tell you that they just don't do enough modern work required and are very far away from even a decent Div 2 team. They try to a point, but it isn't enough. There's a reason these are weaker counties and pretty much always have been and likely always will be. They simply don't go to the level of the top counties, and that's the inconvenient truth. No matter what way you spin it. The reasons why may change from each, but there's inadequacies, lack of enough talent, lack of want, lack of funds, or just plain inability to know how to make the jump.

Loughduff Lad (Cavan) - Posts: 1890 - 23/02/2022 09:19:14    2402007

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Replying To supersub15:  "Fairplayalways, your question is a loaded one and the accuracy of the answer to it will depend on which county it's coming from, to put it all into context div.4 is the weakest of the 4 divisions it's really that simple. I have seen top class players come and go on successive Carlow teams; they can't display their talents or improve on their skills because they play div. 4 football year on year. I would avoid debating the issue of weaker counties with one of the elite, simply because it mostly finishes with the "us" and "them" scenario.

The LGFA released a powerful ad a short while ago with the financial backing from Lidl called "Level The Playing Field." Their quest for integration and equality may be realised at next Saturday's annual congress, the lgfa have an ambition to become competitive and challenging sooner rather than later, they sign off by saying "It's not over 'till we say it's over"

likewise men who play their football in a weaker county than others should be making the similar demands."
I'm all for the LGFA promoting football for women and it is a great game to watch at highest level. Not sure though, apart from county and club teams getting properly looked after in terms of equipment etc (which I don't see as a problem) where the "equality" thing is ultimately supposed to end up at?


There is also - once again to be boringly historical - the fact that the LGFA and camogie association were established by women themselves to ensure that they could administer their own sports.

The ultimate logic of "equality" in sport is what we see with men being allowed to compete with women. Is that what they want? Only physical sport that works in is horse racing.

BarneyGrant (Dublin) - Posts: 660 - 23/02/2022 09:34:53    2402008

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Replying To Galway9801:  "They're not "so called" weaker counties,, they ARE weaker counties, some of them would struggle against Al all Ireland counties reserve team while one or two can't even field a team."
I agree 100%. Call a spade a spade. Nothing wrong with calling Kilkenny a strong county in hurling and a weak county in football. Smacks of the most ridiculous political correction to use euphemisms. Otherwise perhaps we should stop describing right footed players as having a weak left foot too while we're at it.

PoolSturgeon (Galway) - Posts: 1694 - 23/02/2022 09:39:19    2402009

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Replying To supersub15:  "Fairplayalways, your question is a loaded one and the accuracy of the answer to it will depend on which county it's coming from, to put it all into context div.4 is the weakest of the 4 divisions it's really that simple. I have seen top class players come and go on successive Carlow teams; they can't display their talents or improve on their skills because they play div. 4 football year on year. I would avoid debating the issue of weaker counties with one of the elite, simply because it mostly finishes with the "us" and "them" scenario.

The LGFA released a powerful ad a short while ago with the financial backing from Lidl called "Level The Playing Field." Their quest for integration and equality may be realised at next Saturday's annual congress, the lgfa have an ambition to become competitive and challenging sooner rather than later, they sign off by saying "It's not over 'till we say it's over"

likewise men who play their football in a weaker county than others should be making the similar demands."
my question is "why?" the weaker counties are weak and always appear to be weak, we all know they are mainly in Divisions 4 and 3 etc. the only logical answer so far was from a poster further above who mentioned 1890's and GAA not being played in many counties...just today, and over the last 60 years or so, how come the so called weaker counties remain weak despite being able to produce some star players over the years..

Fairplayalways (Offaly) - Posts: 928 - 23/02/2022 10:54:12    2402019

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Replying To BarneyGrant:  "I'm all for the LGFA promoting football for women and it is a great game to watch at highest level. Not sure though, apart from county and club teams getting properly looked after in terms of equipment etc (which I don't see as a problem) where the "equality" thing is ultimately supposed to end up at?


There is also - once again to be boringly historical - the fact that the LGFA and camogie association were established by women themselves to ensure that they could administer their own sports.

The ultimate logic of "equality" in sport is what we see with men being allowed to compete with women. Is that what they want? Only physical sport that works in is horse racing."
hear this argument 100% and agree, I don't want the post took over with that debate, that debate is a clear cut case and about time LGFA is recognized properly and equally..

Fairplayalways (Offaly) - Posts: 928 - 23/02/2022 10:56:06    2402021

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "hear this argument 100% and agree, I don't want the post took over with that debate, that debate is a clear cut case and about time LGFA is recognized properly and equally.."
I agree, but not sure why they seem to wish to surrender their autonomy? They can hardly say they do not get a fair shake when it comes to TV and other media coverage and indeed sponsorship. Some of their players are way better known than most county men seniors.

For the record, I'd as soon as watch women's senior than most men's if Dublin or other of the top teams are not playing. I

BarneyGrant (Dublin) - Posts: 660 - 23/02/2022 11:26:26    2402031

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "Was listening to a few of the lower division games that went ahead yesterday and was wondering, apart from Dublin say, how come Sligo, Leitrim, Waterford, Carlow, Wicklow, Antrim etc..how come there are not minimum 15 top class footballers in these counties to compete with their so called counterparts of stronger counties, and as we know not every county has 15 but will have 11 or 12 or so..take Sligo fie example, Paul Taylor for example one of the top forwards in Ireland when he played, Tipperary had Declan Brown, Carlow had Johnny Nevin and Garvin Ware to mention 2..how come they dont apparently have enough to put out a formidable team capable of winning at least a provincial or a league (not these Mickey Mouse Divisional finals everyone forgets about outside those winning them)..absolutely no disrespect to any of the counties mentioned as examples, we all see they have and have had very good players, why dont they progress..I was listening to Sam Mulroy of Louth being interviewed after they beat Limerick, a top class player and scorer, but no doubt will fade away in time like David Reilly, Colin Kelly and Mark Stanfield, how is it with players like those, these counties dont win and progress more..all observations welcome.."
As a country on the international sporting scene, we've a small pick compared to others, and this shows in our results. Yes Soccer has had a few good era's and some individual world class athletes can come through from time to time, but it's more difficult in team sports. Our international rugby team do fairly well in non World Cup years, but when everyone is at the same level struggle meaning WC year is more of a true reflection of where rugby sits.

In the GAA world it's the same concept, smaller counties or counties with more than football to compete with, will struggle. However what the GAA does have is any team, can find half a dozen top players in the one era and have a relatively successful few years, but it's difficult to sustain or get to the top two leagues and then stay there.

sam1884 (UK) - Posts: 957 - 23/02/2022 11:57:15    2402041

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Replying To Rolo2010:  "How is this relevant? The GAA has come along way since the 1890s. Donegal county board was founded in 1905 but there are records of gaelic games being played before that.

I'm not sure what your point is. Weaker counties weren't responsible for the decline of gaelic games. The British, mass emigration, the Famine. Take your pick. Why should those counties be ignored because the strong back then are still strong today. Laois won the All-Ireland in 1915 so you were wrong on that."
Just to correct this narrative... the decline in the GAA for over a decade after 1890 was due to the massive fallout from and impact of the Parnellite split on the organisation across the country. Lots of published matter available on the topic. Anyone who thinks that the county boards that were still around by 1901 (most of whom had lapsed for years prior) were those who were most committed to the game and therefore those most likely to be 'stronger' thereafter, is failing to understand the history here.

LongfordgaaAbú (Longford) - Posts: 215 - 23/02/2022 12:17:42    2402049

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Replying To LongfordgaaAbú:  "Just to correct this narrative... the decline in the GAA for over a decade after 1890 was due to the massive fallout from and impact of the Parnellite split on the organisation across the country. Lots of published matter available on the topic. Anyone who thinks that the county boards that were still around by 1901 (most of whom had lapsed for years prior) were those who were most committed to the game and therefore those most likely to be 'stronger' thereafter, is failing to understand the history here."
If you read that history you will find that the county boards of 1901 were indeed the strongest counties and the ones that defied the attempt to destroy the organisation after 1891. Due to the fact that they were controlled by the Irish Republican Brotherhood.


Same counties not uncoincidentally were also by and large those which were to the fore in the Tan War. Same counties that allowed themselves to be intimidated by Catholic hierarchy, the media and the anti Parnellite faction in Home rule Party in 1891 behaved little differently after 1916.

BarneyGrant (Dublin) - Posts: 660 - 23/02/2022 12:30:12    2402052

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Replying To supersub15:  "Fairplayalways, your question is a loaded one and the accuracy of the answer to it will depend on which county it's coming from, to put it all into context div.4 is the weakest of the 4 divisions it's really that simple. I have seen top class players come and go on successive Carlow teams; they can't display their talents or improve on their skills because they play div. 4 football year on year. I would avoid debating the issue of weaker counties with one of the elite, simply because it mostly finishes with the "us" and "them" scenario.

The LGFA released a powerful ad a short while ago with the financial backing from Lidl called "Level The Playing Field." Their quest for integration and equality may be realised at next Saturday's annual congress, the lgfa have an ambition to become competitive and challenging sooner rather than later, they sign off by saying "It's not over 'till we say it's over"

likewise men who play their football in a weaker county than others should be making the similar demands."
It's gas how sport and society is developing in that regard, we're all going on about equality but it's a pipe dream, a social construct. We're not equal in sport, some people are better than others and men are better than women.
Jesus wept it's not beyond the realms of possibility that 50 years from now the GAAs most famous sports player might be a woman who'd struggle to make her local clubs mens team.
And we've the nerve to mock flat earthers smh.

Galway9801 (Galway) - Posts: 1330 - 23/02/2022 13:21:02    2402063

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "Was listening to a few of the lower division games that went ahead yesterday and was wondering, apart from Dublin say, how come Sligo, Leitrim, Waterford, Carlow, Wicklow, Antrim etc..how come there are not minimum 15 top class footballers in these counties to compete with their so called counterparts of stronger counties, and as we know not every county has 15 but will have 11 or 12 or so..take Sligo fie example, Paul Taylor for example one of the top forwards in Ireland when he played, Tipperary had Declan Brown, Carlow had Johnny Nevin and Garvin Ware to mention 2..how come they dont apparently have enough to put out a formidable team capable of winning at least a provincial or a league (not these Mickey Mouse Divisional finals everyone forgets about outside those winning them)..absolutely no disrespect to any of the counties mentioned as examples, we all see they have and have had very good players, why dont they progress..I was listening to Sam Mulroy of Louth being interviewed after they beat Limerick, a top class player and scorer, but no doubt will fade away in time like David Reilly, Colin Kelly and Mark Stanfield, how is it with players like those, these counties dont win and progress more..all observations welcome.."
I think there is more to it than just lack of numbers. Managers of teams with not enough quality players to compete at a high level have to decide on tactics when facing superior opposition. Are they going to "have a go" and try and take the game to the opposition or engage in damage limitation. In recent years, in particular, since the arrival of the blanket defence managers tend to go for the latter. Stop the other team from playing, park the bus, keep the score as respectable as possible. This has now crept down to under age games and makes it less likely that a star player will emerge unlike in the past, so we will probable see fewer players like Mattie Forde or Declan Brown. When Leitrim, a team generally in the lower half of Division 4 are drawn to play Mayo (All Ireland runners up) in round one of the championship what can a manager do? The players are unlikely buy the line "we have a right chance here" if we go at them from the start. That's why tier 2 is a good news story. Take last year, Leitrim out on day 1 where the score line at HT was I think 3-11 to 0-2. Mayo eased off in the end but still ran out 24 point winners. End of season for Leitrim while Mayo go on to play against increasingly better opposition up to final day. Mayo get better and Leitrim are stuck or getting worse. At least this year they will have championship games against teams they can expect to beat or at least be competitive against. The tier 2 games may well be much more open and allow naturally gifted players to shine, hopefully. It will be very interesting to see how Tier 2 teams get on in NFL next year having had a few full tilt championship games this year.

giveitlong (Galway) - Posts: 1133 - 23/02/2022 13:33:39    2402065

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Replying To BarneyGrant:  "I forgot Laois. Okay so other than 12 of 135.

It is just an historical observation and has nothing to do with being ignored. Not even sure who is supposed to be ignoring them?"
Hurling is the minority sport and has been since the start. 19 counties have won an All-Ireland in football. Only 8 have never made it to a final.

Rolo2010 (Donegal) - Posts: 595 - 23/02/2022 13:47:25    2402071

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Replying To giveitlong:  "I think there is more to it than just lack of numbers. Managers of teams with not enough quality players to compete at a high level have to decide on tactics when facing superior opposition. Are they going to "have a go" and try and take the game to the opposition or engage in damage limitation. In recent years, in particular, since the arrival of the blanket defence managers tend to go for the latter. Stop the other team from playing, park the bus, keep the score as respectable as possible. This has now crept down to under age games and makes it less likely that a star player will emerge unlike in the past, so we will probable see fewer players like Mattie Forde or Declan Brown. When Leitrim, a team generally in the lower half of Division 4 are drawn to play Mayo (All Ireland runners up) in round one of the championship what can a manager do? The players are unlikely buy the line "we have a right chance here" if we go at them from the start. That's why tier 2 is a good news story. Take last year, Leitrim out on day 1 where the score line at HT was I think 3-11 to 0-2. Mayo eased off in the end but still ran out 24 point winners. End of season for Leitrim while Mayo go on to play against increasingly better opposition up to final day. Mayo get better and Leitrim are stuck or getting worse. At least this year they will have championship games against teams they can expect to beat or at least be competitive against. The tier 2 games may well be much more open and allow naturally gifted players to shine, hopefully. It will be very interesting to see how Tier 2 teams get on in NFL next year having had a few full tilt championship games this year."
why would any county train from October or November to May, play out their league games and go out in the "big one" (championship) then to "limit damage" inflicted on them, only asking the opposition on to you with that approach, what player would accept defeat before the game begins?...if he does, I wouldnt want him on my team or panel, I know these counties have to be reaistic too, but if they put the work in, surely they will have a good cut at it on the big stage, any manager sending them out to lose in effect isnt much of a manager...

Fairplayalways (Offaly) - Posts: 928 - 23/02/2022 17:00:50    2402122

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "why would any county train from October or November to May, play out their league games and go out in the "big one" (championship) then to "limit damage" inflicted on them, only asking the opposition on to you with that approach, what player would accept defeat before the game begins?...if he does, I wouldnt want him on my team or panel, I know these counties have to be reaistic too, but if they put the work in, surely they will have a good cut at it on the big stage, any manager sending them out to lose in effect isnt much of a manager..."
"but if they put the work in, surely they will have a good cut at it on the big stage"

This is something that's always said and just isn't true. Between them the likes of Carlow, Longford, Waterford, Literim who are considered "weaker" don't even have 10 provincial titles but as soon as a second tier is talked about they suddenly think they're going to win one, or at least that's what it seems like.

oneoff (UK) - Posts: 1016 - 23/02/2022 17:58:48    2402130

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "why would any county train from October or November to May, play out their league games and go out in the "big one" (championship) then to "limit damage" inflicted on them, only asking the opposition on to you with that approach, what player would accept defeat before the game begins?...if he does, I wouldnt want him on my team or panel, I know these counties have to be reaistic too, but if they put the work in, surely they will have a good cut at it on the big stage, any manager sending them out to lose in effect isnt much of a manager..."
Point taken about this post not to be taken over by another post that has started it's rounds, however it is only a matter of time before the two clash so to speak.

With the greatest of respect to the posters who are quoting the history books of the 1890's / 1901 etc etc and beyond is in my opinion not relevant at all to the thread title ie, ( So Called ) Weaker Counties, followed by the question, why the weaker counties are weak and always appear to be weak.?

I happened to mention that men who play their football in a weaker county than others should be making similar demands to that of the Women, not necessarily down the equality road as some eventually end up being more equal than others. The only reason I started posting here a number of years ago was to create an awareness that the only counties that would benefit from the Back Door system was the stronger and more successful counties and who do you think was the first county to win an all Ireland senior football title through the back door but Galway, and Jesus wept the second time, from there on the back door favoured the stronger counties only, the rest as they say is unnecessary history.

For years and years there has been a number of counties who tried to answer the parish and county call to foster the games, field a team for club and county through thick and thin irrespective of the results, Through time the media got involved but before that the world was much slower, we didn't have the benefit of TV, Mobil phones, social media, internet etc, etc, etc so we believed anything and everything that was thrown at us . Fast forward on a bit to a time when TV was born, some counties were beginning to get national coverage / recognition, success started for some counties, the county with the higher profile was offered financial assistance, before we knew it businesses saw a cheap way to advertise, the stronger counties with the higher profile was offered a termed sponsorship, the weaker counties had to fend for themselves, Jesus wept the third and final time, but life went on, and on, and on,

supersub15 (Carlow) - Posts: 2625 - 23/02/2022 21:48:18    2402151

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Replying To oneoff:  ""but if they put the work in, surely they will have a good cut at it on the big stage"

This is something that's always said and just isn't true. Between them the likes of Carlow, Longford, Waterford, Literim who are considered "weaker" don't even have 10 provincial titles but as soon as a second tier is talked about they suddenly think they're going to win one, or at least that's what it seems like."
Incidentally we were beaten in the final by Dublin in 1898. So we must have beaten someone to get there. In more recent times we have won two junior All- Ireland.

Canuck (Waterford) - Posts: 2273 - 23/02/2022 22:00:44    2402152

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Replying To Canuck:  "Incidentally we were beaten in the final by Dublin in 1898. So we must have beaten someone to get there. In more recent times we have won two junior All- Ireland."
Over the years Waterford were able to feild competitive teams at Junior level and they had successful teams. Same with Leitrim who as far as I remember played Waterford in the 2004 All Ireland final.

In the past some countries only had a Junior team. The Roscommon team from the 40s started that decade as a Junior team. I know that was a long time ago but teams not playing in the senior championship isn't something new.

oneoff (UK) - Posts: 1016 - 24/02/2022 09:50:29    2402161

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "Was listening to a few of the lower division games that went ahead yesterday and was wondering, apart from Dublin say, how come Sligo, Leitrim, Waterford, Carlow, Wicklow, Antrim etc..how come there are not minimum 15 top class footballers in these counties to compete with their so called counterparts of stronger counties, and as we know not every county has 15 but will have 11 or 12 or so..take Sligo fie example, Paul Taylor for example one of the top forwards in Ireland when he played, Tipperary had Declan Brown, Carlow had Johnny Nevin and Garvin Ware to mention 2..how come they dont apparently have enough to put out a formidable team capable of winning at least a provincial or a league (not these Mickey Mouse Divisional finals everyone forgets about outside those winning them)..absolutely no disrespect to any of the counties mentioned as examples, we all see they have and have had very good players, why dont they progress..I was listening to Sam Mulroy of Louth being interviewed after they beat Limerick, a top class player and scorer, but no doubt will fade away in time like David Reilly, Colin Kelly and Mark Stanfield, how is it with players like those, these counties dont win and progress more..all observations welcome.."
Fairplayalways (Offaly)

The very fact that your own beloved county of Offaly has experienced success at the highest level in both codes, your last display of football greatness was when you stopped Kerry going for 5 in a row, in hurling your last great victory was when you (Offaly) clipped Limericks wings in that particular All Ireland final, Offaly has provincial senior titles and All Ireland success that begs the question, what has happened to Offaly to cause their fall from grace, both codes but in particular your football teams have hit rock bottom.

I would seriously appreciate what your own views / opinions are and why they haven't bounced back to where they were 20 / 30 years ago.

For the record I wish Offaly the best of good luck and I hope they bounce back sooner rather than later.

supersub15 (Carlow) - Posts: 2625 - 24/02/2022 11:51:41    2402188

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