Wednesday 11 December 2019

Don't believe that club success beats county glory

Joe McMahon in action for Omagh against Crossmaglen
Joe McMahon in action for Omagh against Crossmaglen

Colm Parkinson

Omagh caused the shock of the weekend by beating six-time All-Ireland club champions Crossmaglen on Sunday.

We had Joe McMahon on the show on Monday night to talk us through the win. What struck us was a tweet he sent out after winning the county title five weeks ago which read "Happiest day of my football career!! "

I questioned Joe about it and he said he stood by his comment.

I found this difficult to understand. Joe has won two All-Ireland senior football titles in Croke Park, beating Kerry in both finals, but his happiest day in football was winning a Tyrone county championship.

We often hear players say the same thing, especially at this time of year - that winning with your clubmates and friends is special and means more that with your county.

But if you gave me the choice of winning a club All-Ireland or a county All-Ireland, I'd choose the All Ireland with Laois every day of the week.

The standard is higher, the crowds are bigger and it's much higher profile. Inter-county team-mates are your close friends too, or at least they should be, so what's the difference?

"These are the lads I went to school with" is another line trotted out and maybe that's true in some cases. But what team is made up of lads that are all the same age?

I played with Portlaoise senior team for years with Kevin Fitzpatrick being the only player that I went to school with - and he was also a county team-mate.

Brian O'Driscoll said recently on the show that playing for Ireland was the pinnacle for him.

Winning with Leinster was great but it didn't compare to playing and winning with Ireland.

Playing and winning at the highest level should be the dream for all players. I'm not having a go at inter-county players who say they prefer to win with their clubs (I've even said it myself) - I just don't believe them.

Irish Independent

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