Thursday 8 December 2016

It'll never be your year unless we all stop lying to ourselves

Ger Gilroy

Published 23/09/2015 | 02:30

Emlyn Mulligan repeated the question in case we'd missed it the first time.
Emlyn Mulligan repeated the question in case we'd missed it the first time. "What's it all about?"

Emlyn Mulligan repeated the question in case we'd missed it the first time. "What's it all about?"

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We were sitting in the commentary booth at Alumni Stadium in Boston College on a boiling New England September afternoon talking about things a world away on last Saturday's panel.

It seemed incongruous to be anything but blissfully happy about life, yet the topic of Championship structures inevitably came up. Still the biggest question facing the GAA wouldn't go away, even here.

Mulligan is on a year out, travelling; removed from the bubble, he was wondering about where the game was going for counties outside the top tier.

There is a lie that all supporters tell themselves, that we all try and buy in to. This is our year.

We know it's a lie, and we ask our players and coaches to persist with it. They delude themselves that their effort will put them in a position to win a game against an opposition that has more of everything - resources, talent, tradition and coaching.

Unless you are from Dublin, Kerry, Mayo or maybe Donegal or Tyrone, it's not your year.

And it's increasingly likely that unless everyone stops lying to themselves, it will never be your year.

If you were managing a team from the lower divisions now it'd be hard not to morph into the most cynical team in the country given the evidence of the last couple of seasons.

It's clear that cynicism works on and off the field. You'd feel foolish not to send your team out to dive and pinch and talk trash, to howl at referees or plamas them depending on your research, to take tactical black cards, to block runners like in basketball.

Hell, if you needed to, you'd hire a lawyer and let him travel with the team. Sure why not gouge, there doesn't seem to be any repercussion.

We are wasting the players' intercounty careers, and when they start speaking out this will change.

It's the greatest challenge the GPA leadership faces and this off-season is their time. Otherwise we'll all be wondering what's it all about?

Irish Independent

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