C an it be that the GAA has finally entered the age of bullshit? There can be no other explanation for the nonsense of recent weeks.
Pre-Christmas we had a two-month winter training ban -- brought in for the good of players -- during which county teams trained at will, players were neither fed nor compensated, and the only crime as far as county boards were concerned was to be caught.
In Dublin, it seems, players are getting up at 5.30 for 6.30 pre-season training. Manager Pat Gilroy (pictured) defended the strategy by insisting that it paid dividends last year. "It's good to start early, it gives lads a chance to get to work afterwards and a lot of fellas prefer that to being out five times per week," he said. Really? Does this mean that unlike last year these sessions won't be combined with evening training?
Then, in Galway, we have the novelty of three captains. New manager Tomás ó Flatharta named defenders Kieran Fitzgerald and Finian Hanley and forward Michael Meehan, who was last year's captain, as joint captains for 2011. Teams have been known to have two captains -- although usually for practical reasons -- but this is really stretching it. So too is the explanation: "I have named three captains for the year and our thinking is very team-orientated: we are not about individuals," said the manager. Why stop at just three so? One wonders if the Kerryman were to some day manage his native county would he try such a stunt.
Meath's new management staged a squad boxing tournament last Sunday. "The team that won All-Ireland titles in 1987 and '88 didn't do any boxing exhibitions and look at what they achieved," said one former player. And yet there is no word of what Kerry are up to, or Tyrone or Cork. Or what about Kilkenny's hurlers? Or Tipperary's? Is it that those who can do, and those who can't gorge themselves on a training diet of gimmicks? We'll see in September, I guess.
Sunday Indo Sport