Books have a habit of stirring things up - in fact I would say that that’s the reason most books are written.
Kevin Cassidy’s remarks about whether he thought John Joe Doherty and his management team were capable of progressing the county team were a bit harsh.
While I’m not going to argue whether they’re true or not, they are Kevin’s own opinions and he is more than entitled to them. I’m not going to defend John Joe and his mentors - they are more than capable of fighting their own corner but John Joe was given the job. As a player he only played one way and that was giving 100 per cent, so I doubt if he approached management any differently.
In my time playing with the county there where only a few in the back room management teams. Now you have a expert in every area; players are given fitness programmes to follow all year round, they receive the best treatment both on and off the pitch and a huge amount of money is spent on preparing and supporting county teams. Players have to play to a certain system now where as before you had to change to whatever circumstances came before you.
Times have changed and the game has moved on, whether it’s for the better I’m not convinced just yet but John Joe wanted the players to express themselves in the same way he did, play the game as it came to them rather than to a system and if players thought that was naive then so be it.
But why didn’t they say that in the dressing room? I have no doubt that over the years I played for the county it would’ve been easy to blame someone else for losing big games but I always felt regardless whether you were a player, manager, selector, trainer, team doctor or physio, we were all part of the one team. And when we lost, we all lost, but when we won we all won, we were all in it together. Maybe it is better to keep somethings to yourself.
Anyone that watched the International Rules would’ve wondered if there is a future for the hybrid games.
Little over 12,000 supporters turned up to watch the match and after the first game there seemed to be little appetite on this side of the world either. I have never been a big fan of the Series, but it’s great for the players who get the chance to represent their country and get to the chance to play against professional athletes.
This year the Australian management team decided to use untested second string players from the AFL. They looked totally out of their depth. The Irish players where bigger, stronger and fitter and were never afraid to get involved if the situation came about. Looking back years ago the Irish lads would’e come off second best.
The GAA do tremendous work in advertising and marketing the games when they’re played here. There is always huge hype with coverage on the television on the same scale as the rugby internationals, but our Australian counterparts didn’t seem to put in much work this year, so you’d have to question their commitment.
Considering the amount of club games that had to be rescheduled to accommodate players who travelled, you’d have to question whether it’s fair to ask those clubs to play in the terrible weather conditions in the weeks ahead.
Everyone is telling us to tighten our belts. Clubs and county boards alike are finding it extremely difficult to raise funds just to keep going yet it doesn’t seem to bother some in the association in forking out a small fortune for the trip to Australia.
The popularity of the of our national games has never been better, hurling is flourishing in counties where the small ball game was never popular. Football, even though there were a lot of bad games in the championship this year and with the bad press about defensive tactics, but after Dublin’s All-Ireland and their following both in the city and press, do we need to be using up valuable resources do we need to continue the Series?
Every so often we seem to lose a number of our talents to the Australians and while I am all for any player bettering himself, should we be putting them in the shopping window for the Aussies? I don’t think it will bother most of the Donegal supporters until one of our own is enticed Down Under - and that’s something that mightn’t be that far away.