have your say
Dining out on minor tall tale
In a letter to Have Your Say in the Sunday Independent on July 3 Seán L Ó Murchú made a false claim that "recently the Cork Board instructed the county minor hurlers, playing a Munster Championship match in Thurles, to bring their own sandwiches as the bus would not be stopping on the way home afterwards for a meal".
Firstly, the County Board gave no instructions whatsoever to the players, and all arrangements for the game were determined by the team management.
Secondly, the team had a four-course meal (as is normal procedure for all Cork teams) in the Anner Hotel, Thurles, after the game.
Mr Seán L Ó Murchú asked "How low can you go?" It is indeed a question he himself should answer. It would also be appropriate that your newspaper would check its facts before publishing falsehoods.
PRO Cork County Board
Tipp reap benefits of local hospitality
Congratulations to Tipperary on their comprehensive victory over Cork in the Munster minor football championship final in Killarney last Sunday.
I notice that the team travelled to Killarney on Saturday and enjoyed an overnight stay in hotel accommodation so that they would have time to relax on Sunday morning before their 12.0 throw-in and would not have to endure a long journey immediately prior to the game.
The dying art of dead-ball kicking
I read with great interest Tommy Conlon's article about Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton and his innovative kick-outs [July 3].
More of this kind of thing is needed in football which I feel is beset by structural problems in how the game is played. What particularly struck me about Cluxton's kick-outs is that they are off the ground, not out of the hand. But Cluxton sometimes goes upfield to take frees, and these too are always off the ground. This is in stark contrast to most free-takers in football now, which is almost always out of the hand -- this practice an unfortunate result of the link with Aussie rules where kicking out of the hand is the only type of kicking that is done. Although players are permitted the option of taking a free off the ground or out of hand, most opt for the latter, as it is easier and requires less skill.
The consequence of all this is that the ancient and beautiful and difficult and subtle art of kicking a ball from the turf is being lost rapidly in football.
What has also been lost when a player is taking a free at goal is that the sense of drama, tension, electricity, anticipation, hush in the crowd, when the free-taker lines up, steps back, pauses, then strikes, and the silence is broken by the cheers or sighs of the crowd depending on which side of the posts the ball may drift.
Perhaps the GAA can learn something from rugby in this area -- in that code ordinary penalties or frees can be taken from the hand, thereby ensuring that the game is not slowed down, but shots at goal are from the ground, and so rugby has kept the things that the GAA is losing.
So we need more Stephen Cluxtons, or GAA versions of Ronan O'Gara and David Beckham. Perhaps you could start a campaign for a compromise rule (no pun intended) of allowing frees from the hand in general play, but from the ground for shots at goal and maybe line balls. Football is a far superior game to Aussie rules, and it was a bad day's work when we started importing some of their lesser, cruder practices into our game.
Gym didn't fix it for mighty Spillane
I refer to Páidí ó Sé's article [June 26] . . . I did not read Mike McGurn's interview or in fact knew nothing about him until I enquired. For someone to pass such a remark about Pat Spillane is surely ignorant of his class, speed, endurance, etc. I watched Spillane over the years execute feats (especially in Croke Park where it counts) that I have never seen on a pitch.
I fully agree with ó Sé -- and who would know him better? -- but I am totally surprised that he should give such an individual publicity. ó Sé is correct when he states gym work has very little to do with natural ability, class, etc. As a former player/manager once said, you cannot make a racehorse out of a donkey. It is this gym fad that has football and hurling at the standard it is now at in so many counties.
Sunday Indo Sport