have your say
Gaelic not playing by Aussie Rules
I read the article last week [Sept 5] by Tommy Conlon commenting on the poor auld Irish lads who go down under to play Australian Rules football.
While it is many years since I held a hurling stick in my hand or kicked a round ball on the fields of Cork, I have in the meantime seen many other games around the world played with round and oval balls. One such game that I enjoy and hold in high esteem is Australian Rules football.
Tommy, the high skill levels of the Australian football game come from natural skill, training and good coaching but importantly the professionalism of the sports administrators who create the sports spectacle and generate the money that is required to fund facilities, fitness staff, skills coaches and mentors.
If you look closely, you will see that the boys who come home have a different attitude and physique because they have played the local game down under.
Rather than wrongly disparaging other codes of football, look more closely, talk to some of the boys who have played both Gaelic and Australian football and watch the other code's games with someone who can add to your body of knowledge.
The Australian Rules Football League was once a Victoria State-based competition (established in 1859); now it is national and very successful.
I am a great fan of the Geelong Football Club (known as the 'Cats') because that is where my family emigrated to in 1971. That club has gone through a 10-year transformation from struggling at the bottom of the league (44 years since a Premiership) to three finals, two Premiership Cups in three years and it is playing in the finals again this year.
Collingwood, where Marty Clarke played, is the team that you either love or hate with a passion and perhaps that is why you have such a misplaced view of the game.
Take a look at the recent history of the Australian Football League (AFL) and the Cats and you will find a lot to usefully apply to Gaelic football and its clubs. The AFL finals are on now; take a look and learn.
Conlon views are wide of the mark
I was wondering if Mr Conlon has actually ever seen Aussie Rules played at the top level? It may have been true at one time that the game was all about brawn over brain -- it cannot be said now. I lived in Melbourne for many years and attended over 200 games (Jim Stynes played in most of them) and to say the game is "just a dumbed down field sport" would be like an Aussie saying that hurling is just a game where men hit a ball with sticks.
The notion that you can't kick with the outside of the foot is wrong. This is called, in Australia, a checkside or banana kick. Additionally, to say there is no skill involved plainly shows a lack of knowledge.
Try running at full speed while bouncing an oval ball and keeping it under control and then say there is no skill.
I was at the Down v Kildare game and would agree that it was a fine example of our sport, but there is room for us to appreciate others even if, like Mr Conlon, we may not understand them.
Camogie suffers in media blackout
I am writing regarding the write-up on the senior camogie All-Ireland semi-finals on August 14. I don't have to go through every newspaper to know that reports were practically non-existent.
It is very disappointing to see such a lack of coverage especially when inter-county camogie players put in as much time, effort and sacrifice as any GAA players and don't get anywhere near the same amount of coverage.
Irish newspapers not only concentrate on GAA but also focus hugely on coverage of the English Premiership. Not only do these sports receive endless coverage on every daily and weekly newspaper, but they also receive coverage from numerous different writers about each match.
As an inter-county player, I have become disillusioned by the lack of attention paid to any female sports. Even on an international stage, women's rugby and soccer receive very little media space.
While yours is not the only newspaper guilty of largely ignoring or minimising the reporting of female sports, I would suggest that you could lead by example and start giving more space to female sports and not dwell on the all-male GAA games and English Premiership soccer.
To ask you to dedicate one or two pages to the three camogie All-Ireland finals is not an unreasonable request. This time, I hope you'll give us camogie players enough credit for the effort and sacrifices we have made.