Gavan Reilly

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Archive for the ‘Cork GAA’ tag

Gerald McCarthy to resign shortly

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It seems the Cork hurling dispute is rolling to an ignominious conclusion tonight.

Word has it that Gerald McCarthy, the Cork hurling coach with whom last year’s hurling panel are at loggerheads, is to announce his resignation at the County Board meeting tonight in Mallow. His resignation will probably result in the 2008 squad calling off their strike and making themselves available to train for the new coach, whomever that may be, and bringing yet another ignominious chapter in Cork GAA to a bitter and divisive end.

mccarthyI can’t say I’m too shocked a the news – when any sporting team encounters success, it’s inevitably the players who win the matches that will garner the bulk of the public’s support, while the perceivably intangible effect that backroom teams can have means that they’ll only be a certain few who can appreciate their input. Thus when the county team wins two All-Irelands in 2004 and 2005, and makes the last four in each Championship since, it would inevitably be the playing squad that the public would come to support. It’s already manifested itself in the football code; in 2007 Billy Morgan brought the footballers to their first All-Ireland final since 1999, but when the players started to become irked with his style, the public were firmly on one side. This time around, over thirty thousand redshirts showed up to a public demo in favour of the beleagured players. One might ask the question of how one is meant to display support to a status quo – are we to expect a series of “We like things as they are!” rallies? – but that’s for another post some other time.

It’s difficult not to feel that Gerald McCarthy has been very hardly done by, in being coaxed into this difficult decision. The man was reappointed at the correct levels only last winter, by a committee that included representatives of the players who then immediately sought to overthrow him. Certain people – no need to name them, it’s fairly obvious who they are – decided retrospectively they’d rather have their own man in the job, and proceed to mount a public offensive making sure they got their way.

The distinctly Corkonian machiovellian way of doing things doesn’t fix anything. The flagrant disregard for due process is, largely, the problem with what Ireland has become of late; we don’t do things the right way, decisions are made with their consequences as an afterthought, and not – as they should be – with their consequences as the driving factor. Gerald McCarthy has done nothing wrong here. He was approached asking if he’d like to be considered for the job again, he assented, had his name put to the committee, who assented to his return. The committee featured players’ reps, who had been put there as a resolution to the striking footballers that had gone the year before him.

But alas, McCarthy seems to have decided his own sanity should take preference over his public perception, and very understandably so. What should not be overlooked in this matter, though, is that McCarthy is far from the only wronged party here. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Gav

March 10th, 2009 at 7:34 pm

The Tale of Two Corks

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Maybe it’s because I was in Kilkenny again for the last couple of nights, but Tom Humphries – as he tends to – struck a note with me as I read his Locker Room column from today‘s Irish Times while on the bus back to Dublin.

Let me start by making it very clear – I am a massive fan of Tom Humphries. Back in 1995 when Santa didn’t have any copies of the Buster annual left, he substituted me his book on The Legend of Jack Charlton, ably filling the void left behind by a nine year old’s intoxication from World Cup USA 1994 and his country’s failure to make the next European Championships. In 2003 the family holiday was supplemented by a copy of Laptop Dancing and the Nanny-Goat Mambo – one of the best examples of sports journalism I’ve ever had the privilege to read, unique in its ability to make me want the lifestyle of a sporting hack, even as bleak as the Irish Times‘ existence was in 2002 – even if the book was my Dad’s. His ghostwriting on Niall Quinn’s autobiography wasn’t bad either. All this, and the man one ran for sabbatical election in UCD Students’ Union. You can’t not like him.

There was something today that unsettled me, though. Tom is a staunch lover of gaelic games – you can tell from his writing that he hails the sports more than any other. His work is dripping with the staunch tribalism of GAA life – he even wrote a book on the Dublin/Kerry rivalry of the late 70’s-early 80’s. Today, though, in writing an otherwise illuminating metacolumn – 1,000 words about writing 1,000 words – on how sport is an escape from the real world (a quality I attest to it more than others; I like the thrill of going to Old Trafford but if United lose, I don’t exactly turn suicidal). In doing so, he consciously trivialised sporting institutions from all codes, including the currently striking Cork hurlers:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Gav

January 5th, 2009 at 8:30 pm