Saturday 21 September 2019

Attention-grabbing comment an insult to Cody's pedigree

Tom Dempsey
Tom Dempsey

Tom Dempsey's Hurling Analysis

Modern day G.A.A. pundits are constantly looking for the headline statement or topic that will capture the reader's or viewer's attention, with 'puke football' and 'constipated hurling' being two of the more memorable phrases coined over the past few years.

They crave the phrase or impact article that will set them apart in the public mind and thus cement their status as the best analyst around. The relentless pursuit of the eye-opening comment can lead the pundit into dangerous territory however, with a thin line existing between sense and nonsense.

Ger Loughnane and Joe Brolly are two of the most colourful around and are certainly not afraid to enter the world of controversy with the sweeping statement that captures everyone's attention.

Ger referred to Kilkenny as functional during the year and maybe to some extent there was merit in what he said, but for me he stepped into the ridiculous category when he questioned the wisdom of Brian Cody staying on as Kilkenny hurling manager for the coming year.

Whilst I am not afforded the column inches to fully represent Brian Cody's achievements, it goes without saying that the Clare man stepped from capturing attention into the world of ridicule, suggesting that to step down would now further enhance the Kilkenny maestro's reputation.

Nothing can happen now to add or detract from the legend that is Brian Cody. The winning of two All-Irelands in the past three years and contesting three would be reason enough for any manager, let alone Brian Cody, to extend his term, and although I do feel Kilkenny may have a couple of years' re-building ahead, who better than the greatest hurling manager of all time to oversee the transition?

The line between making a sound attention-capturing statement and a foolish one was breached last week, but in the great Clare man's defence maybe it was just wishful thinking. In Brian's own words, 'you're a gas man Ger'.

Radio brought me to Portalaoise on Sunday to witness an outstanding performance from Cuala who won their first-ever Leinster Club title when outclassing O'Loughlin Gaels in the final. I've always had an interest in the Dublin men given their strong Wexford connections which were particularly apparent when they dethroned Buffers Alley in the 1989 Leinster semi-final.

Colm O'Leary (part Tipp.), Murty Dempsey, Mick Morrissey (10% Wexford), the ageless Dave Bernie (he was in his early 50s at the time if memory serves me correctly) and Clongeen's Edno Murphy formed a third of that great team with Mick Dempsey pulling the strings from the sideline.

Jimmy Doyle, who is current Cuala President, was a selector in '89 and I'm sure there was no man happier than the great Glynn-Barntown native on Sunday evening. The Dublin champs brought an energy to the field, determined not to have the bad start of twelve months ago, and roared on by the atmospheric Santa hat army they should have had the game out of reach by half-time.

The dual player issue (never goes away) was on everyone's lips after the game as the brilliant Con O'Callaghan received the man of the match award but will not be available to Ger Cunningham next year due to his football allegiance.

A couple of years back it was felt that Dublin didn't have the wristy hurlers of some of the more traditional counties, but Cuala dismissed that theory for me with exceptional skill levels allied to superb conditioning being at a much higher level than the Kilkenny men.

Our President, Aogan O Fearghail, caused a stir (probably unintentionally) about the playing of the National Anthem and flying of the Tricolour during the week, leading to a lot of comment particularly from the aforementioned Joe Brolly.

Any change to both should not even be discussed or tolerated, with a re-focus on the more pertinent issues such as over-training, player burn-out and providing clubs with more games being the priority. Have a good week.

Wexford People

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