Defeating Tipp should mean more than a nasty text
Published 04/06/2014 | 02:30
I was a little disappointed, but not surprised, to hear Shane Dowling's comments after Limerick's fantastic win over Tipperary on Sunday.
Dowling scored the winning goal in a personal tally of 2-9, but felt the need, in his hour of glory, to reference some journalist who sent an abusive text to the county chairman about him.
He said after the game: "That particular person personally abused me in that text message. I don't say that lightly. Above nothing else, I'm just delighted I got my chance today and I hope I answered him.
"People have questioned a lot of things about me – fitness, ability, the whole lot. I'm not saying I set the world alight. I didn't. But it's nice to show that you're still doing something good."
Why would Dowling want to 'answer' the texter? A message like that would be the furthest thing from my mind after a win and a performance like his.
In a similar case, Jim McGuinness wasn't happy with some of my analysis of the Donegal team and management in the lead-up to their Ulster quarter-final against Derry. He thought I'd been unfair to Donegal, he said in his post-match interview.
"I didn't feel under any pressure, you've people like Colm Parkinson in Newstalk that were trying to put pressure on us."
I didn't think Jim, a brilliant All-Ireland-winning manager, would concern himself with something I said. However, Jim and I were friends in college, so maybe he felt I was being disloyal in some way.
In my experience, Gaelic footballers are incredibly sensitive to criticism. Most players, if they play well, read the papers after games and look out for mentions of themselves and watch 'The Sunday Game' to hear the compliments; it's human nature.
When things don't go well for teams and individuals then criticism will naturally come their way. It's part of the game, always has been. Once the criticism isn't personal, you have to take it on the chin.
Dowling's case was a strange one. The text wasn't even sent to him, it was a private text that wasn't actually intended for his eyes.
I understand players draw motivation from different areas, but surely beating Tipp in Thurles for the first time in 73 years was a bigger motivating factor than that text.