Sunday 4 December 2016

Off The Ball: Brolly's crusade pointing way to a brighter future

Pundit genuinely cares about game -- and his fight against cynicism can make a difference

Diarmuid Lyng

Published 15/01/2014 | 02:30

Joe Brolly
Joe Brolly
Toronto FC new player Jermain Defoe is introduced during a press conference
Peyton Manning
Cristiano Ronaldo
Frank Dancevic lies on the court after collapsing during his first round match

After two days of powerpoint presentations and pep talks, the coaches that gathered for the Liberty Insurance Games Development Conference at Croke Park were treated to the spectacle of a gregarious Joe Brolly, with a mic and a pulpit and a willingness to be himself.

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I'd never met Joe. He had piqued my interest for some time, the manner in which he argued points devoid of the arrogance and generalities former players take to conversations in the public domain. Granted, he may have his own form of arrogance, safe in the knowledge that there are few that can take him on at his own game. You could replace Spillane with Chomsky and we'd have a more even keel.

But then he attacked a good man's character and we all lost it. Brolly admitted his wrong and moved on, while the rest of the GAA population struggled to come to terms with the reality of where the game had gone, that winning is now all that matters. That cynicism in pursuit of winning was justified and this was destroying the game. And all of this, under the loosening cloak of amateurism.

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