Wednesday 7 December 2016

Captain Cooper aiming to banish talk of 'No 13' jinx

Published 29/11/2011 | 05:00

Pictured at the launch of the AIB GAA Skills Challenge are, from left, Dublin's Paul Flynn, Tipperary's Brendan Cummins, Kerry's Colm Cooper and Kilkenny's JJ Delaney. Four AIB GAA Skills Challenge days will roll out in the New Year during January and February across each of the provinces.
Pictured at the launch of the AIB GAA Skills Challenge are, from left, Dublin's Paul Flynn, Tipperary's Brendan Cummins, Kerry's Colm Cooper and Kilkenny's JJ Delaney. Four AIB GAA Skills Challenge days will roll out in the New Year during January and February across each of the provinces.

Colm Cooper has no intention of swapping his coveted No 13 shirt to avoid the GAA's great captaincy jinx.

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No player wearing No 13 has ever lifted the Sam Maguire Cup on All-Ireland final day and Cooper was the latest to fall to the curse last September, coming within minutes of breaking the great right corner-forward captaincy hoodoo.

But after getting the backing of his club, Dr Crokes, in recent weeks to captain Kerry again, Gooch admitted it was something he never knew anything about.

"I didn't even know that until after the All-Ireland final," he said. "No one said it to me the week before. I suppose they were afraid to say it to me. Records are there to be broken. We won't be too worried about the number on the jersey. It would be worse if we didn't have the jersey."

Cooper sat down with his other Dr Crokes colleagues on the Kerry team -- Eoin Brosnan, Kieran O'Leary, Daithi Casey and John Buckley -- last week and the consensus was that he should continue with the Kingdom captaincy.

"Eoin, Kieran and myself were the more senior guys. Johnny and Daithi were involved as well. They're cutting their teeth, if you want to call it that, so it would be unfair to ask them to do it.

"I talked to Eoin and Kieran about it and they were hoping that I would go forward again for it. They were pleased when we had the chat," revealed Cooper, who confirmed that Brosnan would be available again for Kerry in 2012.

"That's what I'm led to believe. He is enjoying his football. He is probably our best player at Crokes this year. He did a very solid job for us with Kerry. From his point of view, he's probably saying, 'while I'm enjoying it, why would I stop?'.

"We're probably seeing the best of him now."

Cooper found the Dublin All-Ireland final defeat the hardest of the four he has experienced, not because he was captain but because they had relinquished a winning position.

"We have closed out so many games over five, six or seven years. It's an area where we would be very strong, but because we didn't do it that day that was probably one of the most disappointing things."

Dr Crokes contest a second Munster club final in 2011 (the 2010 final against Nemo Rangers was delayed until the end of January because of adverse weather) on Sunday when they play a UCC team featuring nine Kerry men in Killarney.

Ironically, Buckley and Casey both helped UCC to a Cork county title in October, but once Crokes retained their Kerry title they were always going to declare for their home club.

The question of third-level institutes playing in club championships is not something the Gooch has given much thought to, but he accepts that with emigration rampant it is much more difficult for rural clubs to compete against the might of colleges.

"It's hard for rural clubs to compete with the UCCs of this world. UCC could pick 50 players. It's tougher now than it has ever been for the clubs.

"I just take it for granted because it is there for as long as I can remember it."

Irish Independent

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