Difficult to comprehend that he's gone

Sean Counihan tackles the big issues head on

Credit: Photo: Michelle Cooper Galvin
Credit: Photo: Michelle Cooper Galvin


THE GAA world was stunned on Saturday last with the news that the death had taken place of the great Kerry footballer and manager Paidí Ó Sé.

To his wife Maire and his children let me offer my sincerest sympathy and also to Paidí's extended family – including his famous nephews Tomás, Darragh and Marc. Now unfortunately this is a situation that hits a lot of families, but when it hits someone you know – and especially an icon like Paidí – it triggers memories of a great footballer and a proud Kerry man and in particular a proud West Kerry man.

I had the pleasure of serving as a selector with Paidí and I have some treasured memories of that time and the conversations we would have when we subsequently met – conversations that would always begin with football and venture a little into politics. His great battles on the field of play will be well documented, but away from football he was a great character and I have some great memories of the short time we would spend in the football fields around the country.

He will be a great loss to his family and to a community he helped to promote and grow. The GAA produce a few legends on and off the field, no doubt Paidi O'Se was one of these people. May he rest in peace. Dr Crokes THE Crokes march on and had a big win in London last Sunday.

No doubt they will welcome the next few weeks break as it will be straight back to business in the New Year as they prepare for Ballymun Kickhams in the All-Ireland Club semifinal. The Dublin team looked a useful enough outfit from what I saw on TG4, but then I felt Portlaoise were poor on the day. St Bridget's of Roscommon will play Crossmaglen in the other semi-final, but we will look at these games in the New Year. Rules AS I predicted last week, we have had a few managers sticking their heads above the parapet with regard to the proposed rule changes, led by Jim McGuinness and his worry on the yellow cards. Jim thinks that this might impinge on teams from Ulster rather than any other province, but this was to be expected. We were bound to have some players too worried by this element of change.

Without naming any player in particular let's just say they wouldn't be immune from picking up cards in almost every game in which they would play. I think that players will have to adapt to the new rules on cards as the game needs to move forward and certainly cannot be left deteriorate any further.

I was one of the threethousand or so people who filled the online survey in relation to what one might like to see improve the game and when you consider how many clubs we have in the country I am amazed that a survey open to supporters and players would have such a small response. I believe too that the delegates going to Congress will be brave enough to do the right thing with most of these recommendations, especially those that will improve the game.

I have a few thoughts myself about the mark. It might work, but there is a question mark, in my view, if you look at the amount of goalkeepers now who go short with the kick out it could take the art of high fielding out of the game altogether. Then, of course, it could make forwards play very high up the field to counter this ploy and you could have a very good open game of football. Remember Kerry adopted this tactic on Cluxton's kickout on Dublin in a quarterfinal a few years ago and we had a great open game of football.

I think we could look at the hand pass, but this is not on the agenda right now. The other area would be the seventy minute club game. I don't believe this should happen until the domestic calendars in counties across the country are sorted out – simply stated we will have to allow competitions to be played even if inter-county players are unavailable to their clubs.

It's for this reason that I believe the change to the county league could make the fixture issue open to dispute here in the Kingdom. More clubs will now not want to play games if they have a county player because of the three up and three down.

Overall for Kerry football at inter-county level will have been disappointing even though we did win the junior. On the club scene, however, we did quite well with all Kerry sides still standing in the club competitions.

Finally, I would like to wish readers of this column a very happy Christmas and every best wish for the New Year.