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Soft option for Donegal boys
So Donegal needed to stay in a luxury hotel before playing Derry. Donegal to Clones is not to be equated with a trip in the Australian outback. How things have changed in Tír Chonaill.
In the 1940s, my uncle won five county medals with Gweedore. Amongst their opponents was Dungloe who were backboned with Sligo's Frank White and Mayo's Paddy Prendergast. Gweedore beat them handsomely and often.
The biggest threat to the Gaeltacht men was referees and a reluctant county board. They were hard men from a hard era.
My uncle "farmed" six acres of rock and bog. To supplement his meagre income, he worked on the roads with the council, in the bog or did seasonal work in Scotland.
Once on the way home from a day spreading gravel on the road he carried a hundredweight of grain two miles on his back. Once home, he milked the cows, did whatever bit of farming that was needed and then walked across a beach with the consistency of concrete for about half a mile with his boots hanging over his shoulders.
One day in 1947 he walked away. Gweedore replaced him and kept winning. Time and necessity saw him pass away at 62 working on a building site in Scotland. My small drop of Donegal blood curdled when I read the Irish Independent on Donegal cuddling their precious players.
What next? Pink jerseys to match our male pink-wearing political cool elite!
Jesus lads, grow up. It's still a simple game. If you are tired after a three-hour ride on an air-conditioned bus, then you should take up bowls or something sedentary.
I know times have changed. Better men than today's crop toiled in the fields of Donegal football without the need for constant pampering.
God forbid that they might be asked to foot turf, make hay, milk a cow or fill the potholes. Then again the men of the old era never broke metatarsals, pulled hamstrings or twisted cruciates. Cycling and physical work had the body honed.
In 1939, Gweedore were short-changed in the county final when odd refereeing saw them fall short by two points.
However, the cup travelled to the Gaeltacht that night as the Gaeltacht men simply took it home with them.
Ní fheicimíd a leithéid arís.
Refs lacking consistency
The majority of Gaelic football supporters will admit that refereeing matches is an onerous task.
However, anybody who viewed the football matches played last weekend must surely have come to one conclusion: the inconsistency of referees in applying the rules is the bane of the sport.
Surely if a player is whistled up for pulling an opponent's shirt, carrying the ball too far, picking the ball off the ground, or any other offence at a game in Kerry, Laois or Navan, the same must apply for games in Leitrim, Cork and Donegal.
But this does not happen. The above listed fouls must be obvious to the referee, and if they are not, he must be unable to see or count; and remember it is these offences that make up the majority of frees.
Most supporters will accept that on occasions a referee may miss an incident or two; however, with six other officials to support him, these occasions should be few and far between. Nor would the fact that he was notified by them impinge on his authority.
Many of the referees that I have seen recently are not up with the play, which would indicate that they were not in a position to determine or make a decision as to whether a foul was committed or not; this would further support the argument for greater involvement of the other officials.
Anything that would improve the application of the rules and reduce the inconsistencies in there application can only improve the sport.
Some pundits seem to imply that the modern methods that pertain in the game, such as blanket defence, one-man forward lines and such developments are the root cause of the problems in Gaelic football.
Whereas they do nothing for the entertainment value of the sport, they do not in any way effect the consistent application of the rules.
Sunday Indo Sport