Sunday 23 September 2018

After years of enthusiastic disapproval, I've started to see the good in international rules

Hold The Back Page

Joe Kernan. Photo: Sportsfile
Joe Kernan. Photo: Sportsfile

Eamonn Sweeney

At this time of the year I usually launch an attack on the international rules series, mocking its ugliness, self-importance and downright pointlessness. Not this year. It took just four words to change my mind.

The words? Ireland captain Aidan O'Shea. They made me think about the year the Breaffy man has put in. Criticised in the most unfair terms, shifted from pillar to post on the Mayo team but producing a series of Herculean displays and at the end of it suffering the worst disappointment yet of a career which has abounded in such moments. No man better deserves a bit of consolation and it must mean a huge amount to Aidan O'Shea to captain his country.

Thinking of what the series might mean to O'Shea made me think of what it might mean to other people. To, for starters, the other players who'd otherwise never get a chance to represent their country or to play alongside guys they've been competing against for years. After a long, hard season, this trip is a bonus for players who deserve one.

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