Saturday 3 December 2016

Football in fine shape - despite what critics say

Published 20/08/2015 | 02:30

'As far as I’m concerned, football has never been healthier. The skill and fitness levels are higher and the tactics we see now are so advanced that I just have to stand back and admire it'
'As far as I’m concerned, football has never been healthier. The skill and fitness levels are higher and the tactics we see now are so advanced that I just have to stand back and admire it'

It's interesting that football people always seem very quick to criticise the game and we often hear how poor the standard at inter-county level is.

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By complete contrast, you never hear the same sort of talk from hurling people about their game.

As far as I'm concerned, football has never been healthier. The skill and fitness levels are higher and the tactics we see now are so advanced that I just have to stand back and admire it.

Some people would love to go back to the olden days when players held their positions, the ball was kicked and every possession was contested. But why kick a 50-50 ball when you can handpass, making it 70-30 in your favour?

Granted, it hasn't been a vintage season in the championship. But I still think that we can have two great semi-finals and a great final. That's all people will remember and it will be a great summer for the game.

The one concern I have about football is the growing divide between the haves and the have-nots. We have seen a lot of big hammerings this year and it's only going to get worse if something isn't done about the issue.

The top teams now have access to the best in coaching, tactics and sports science. They are massively well-funded and this sees the gap grow.

I've been banging this drum for a long time now, but something has to be done to address this imbalance.

I'm surprised that the GPA hasn't said more about this. Most of their members are from counties that haven't a chance of winning an All-Ireland and many of them were on the wrong end of big beatings this summer.

I believe that they should be making noise and agitating at executive level to try to ensure that funding and the best of expertise is available to all counties.

Irish Independent

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