to the bone

Bray People - - SPORT -

NEARY

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.

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