Hurl­ing’s a wholly dif­fer­ent ball game

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - Letters -

Sir — For as long as I can re­mem­ber, the GAA and its so-called ex­perts have talked about pro­mot­ing the games in the weaker coun­ties. In coun­ties with a soc­cer fol­low­ing, chang­ing to Gaelic foot­ball is not that dif­fi­cult. Kevin Mo­ran, of Dublin, and Dave Barry, of Cork, would be two good ex­am­ples.

How­ever, hurl­ing is a dif­fer­ent story. If one does not grasp the skills at a young age, it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to do so later on. It’s gen­er­ally agreed that only eight coun­ties have a chance of win­ning a hurl­ing All-Ire­land. Another half-dozen are “knock­ing on the door” and de­serve credit for try­ing.

One of those coun­ties is my na­tive Kerry. Last Satur­day, the All-Ire­land Un­der 21 hurl­ing fi­nal was played in Thurles. Lim­er­ick were win­ners, beat­ing Kilkenny. The game was pre­ceded by the ‘Spe­cial Un­der 21’ hurl­ing fi­nal, between Kerry and Wick­low. Kerry won the game, and both of these games were tele­vised by TG4.

How­ever, in the re­sults on RTE later that evening, not a men­tion was made of the Kerry-Wick­low game; not even the score. Marty Mor­ris­sey, the new guru of the GAA, was in full flight as he told the story of the Lim­er­ick-Kilkenny game — but not a men­tion of Kerry-Wick­low. So much for pro­mot­ing the game in the weaker coun­ties.

To add in­sult to in­jury, the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent gave the briefest of men­tions and listed it as ‘Spe­cial Un­der 21 foot­ball’!

Let me con­clude by con­grat­u­lat­ing both Kerry and Wick­low; ye are both proud coun­ties and de­serve bet­ter.

Mike Kelle­her, Tramore, Co Water­ford

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