to the bone
THE MICHAEL NEARY VIEW It was crazy to go all the way to Australia for one International Rules game THE announcement of the five retirements from the Kilkenny Senior hurling panel was certainly surprising. WHEN a county, even as strong as Kilkenny, loses players of the calibre of Tommy Walsh, Brian Hogan, David Herity and Aidan Fogarty it’s big news.
Their age profile would possibly have indicated that they had time left on their inter-county clocks.
These players have given tremendous service to the Cats and their fantastic medal haul is testament to this effort and, thankfully, just reward.
Their retirements and their reasons highlights the somewhat unrealistic levels of commitment needed to play at the highest echelon.
These players in their prime put their own lives and the lives of their families on hold for the cause.
Its undisputed that some of these players were the very best we have ever seen in this country and their successes no doubt made their huge commitment levels much easier to accept.
All the players in question failed to figure in the All-Ireland final replay.
They are well aware of the conveyer belt of talent available in Kilkenny and they probably saw the writing on the wall.
As we all know the Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody, shows little sentiment when picking his team and they didn’t wish to end their illustrious careers keeping the bench warm.
I don’t think these retirements will affect Kilkenny in their attempt to retain the Liam McCarthy.
There are lots of strong club players in the county waiting patiently for a call from Mr. Cody to join the squad.
Interestingly enough, the county champions in 2013 and beaten finalists in 2014, Clara, only have one member of their team on the county panel, namely Lester Ryan and despite being captain he can currently only make the Kilkenny subs bench.
Talking of retirements, King Henry still has to make up his mind.
He will probably do so when Ballyhale’s participation in the club championship ends.
Looking at the Ballyhale panel I see no reason why they won’t win the club All-Ireland in March. If Ballyhale’s county players (T.J. Reid, Michael and Colin Fennelly, Shefflin, Joey Holden and throw in Cha Fitzpatrick) have the appetite they should have too much for any of the clubs left in the competition.
Ballyhale’s participation up to March may see Shefflin stay on for one more year. At that stage of the year the hard winter training for the county team will have finished and this may entice Henry back.
If I were a betting man I would say we have seen the last of Henry in the black and amber.
Lots of mixed reaction to the recent International Rules Series.
I personally think it was crazy to go all the way to Australia for only one game. A crowd of 38,000 attended the game which is probably just about acceptable for an exhibition game of this calibre. The fact that the game was televised in Ireland early on a Saturday morning I didn’t help viewing numbers.
I read that the Series will continue in 2015, however, if it’s to be a success it will require the playing of two tests and for Australia to bring their strongest team which heretofore was a problem.
It’s somewhat disappointing that there were no players from the weaker counties selected for the recent trip.
Over the years it was great to see lesser known players get the exposure they received when playing for Ireland such as our own Kevin O’Brien and Leighton Glynn.
It was a busy time for a lot of the Irish team who had just about time to change tracksuits and head back to Dublin Airport for the 2013 and 2014 All-Stars trip to Boston.
You can now see what I mean when I say I would like to see some of the lesser known county players gain selection for the International Series as it would be such a huge highlight in their sporting career.
I found it unbelievable that two Irish players on the travelling party didn’t make the match day squad.
Surely after travelling across the world they could have at least got to play one quarter.
Maybe next year they should play this Series with the Go-Games rules so everyone gets to play!
Final rant - after all the years of overlooking Micko for the Irish manager’s job, I would interested to know on what criteria is Paul Early picked?
I couldn’t let this week pass without mentioning the wonderful night of celebration last Saturday in the new Kilcoole GAA Clubhouse for the members of their winning 1954 Senior Football Championship team.
It was great to see a packed clubhouse to honour these men for their wonderful achievement 60 years ago.
Alas, there are only seven surviving members of the team, their captain Jimmy Gammell, brothers Jimmy and Danny Hatton, Ned Keegan, Sean Kelly, Jim Kelly and Eddie Earls.
The deceased members of the team are Dick Foley, Ned Kilbride, Frank Coughlan, Pat McEntaggert, Paddy Doyle, Tommy White, George Delaney, George Quinn, Jim Hayden, Sonny Atkinson, Mick Kelly, Willie Redmond, Paddy Murphy and Christy Doyle.
A presentation was made by the club to each of the surviving members and also to the families of the deceased members.
This team consisted of many who continued to be hugely involved in all aspects of the GAA including administration, refereeing, coaching and management.
Remarkably Jimmy Hatton went on to referee All-Ireland finals in both codes, something that doesn’t happen in this day and age.
Unfortunately Kilcoole has not repeated this success at senior level since, however, with the tremendous work currently being done by the club’s juvenile section hopefully it won’t be too long before they triumph again.
Congratulations to the organisers on what was a very special night.