Thursday 26 April 2018

One-way traffic is driving Munster down a cul de sac

Although Kerry beat Limerick with some ease and performed relatively well in the process, I couldn't help but be disappointed with the direction in which the Munster championship is heading.

It's very much a two-horse race, and going on last weekend's results and the form of the superpowers, Cork and Kerry, it looks set to stay that way. Waterford and Limerick were in the same boat last weekend. They showed nothing at all against Cork and Kerry and the games were nothing more than a training run for the current kingpins.

It's hard to believe that it was only last year when Limerick nearly got the better of Kerry. But it must be said that having Donie Buckley and Mickey Ned O'Sullivan involved was a big factor in the performance. Both men had intricate knowledge of the Kerry panel and used it to their advantage.

I know John Galvin is a big loss in the middle of the field, but that is hardly the only reason for such a massive regression. They are a far cry from last year's team. They didn't play with the same spirit and enthusiasm they showed in 2010.

A lot of teams seem to follow that trend; they have one good year but they flop in the next one. Sligo are in a similar situation. They were very bad against Leitrim; they made them look better than they are.

When a new or outside manager comes in teams regularly play out of their skins for the first year, but they rarely reproduce it after that The bar is set too high and counties can't reach it in the second or third years.

The big two have really pulled away from everybody else in Munster and even though the likes of Tipperary are beating us at minor and under 21 levels, they still don't seem to be able to piece it together at senior. There are only four or five teams that can realistically hope to win this year's All-Ireland: Kerry, Cork, Dublin, Kildare and maybe Tyrone. Connacht don't seem to have anything to offer.

People around the county are already looking forward to the Munster final in Killarney; it seems to be one of the most anticipated finals in years. It's just a pity there is a back door for the losers because if it was a win-at-all-costs game then it would be better again -- well for us spectators anyway.

Moving to last week's saga involving RTE, Brian Carthy, Mickey Harte and a few other managers, I find it extremely hard to fathom what was going on. And while I've no axe to grind with any of those involved, going on experience I don't think it was a good idea for the managers to get involved. It's not part of the role of a manager to dictate who they want on the

airwaves and likewise they wouldn't be pleased if the media were telling them who to play.

Personally, I always got on with the media but I had boundaries. I found them easy to deal with but we definitely had our ups and downs. I was regularly openly criticised for protecting the players too much, but at that time we were desperate in Kerry for success and I wanted to ensure I was giving my players all the help they needed, both on and off the field.

These days inter-county players are more professional in their dealings with the press. In many cases they get training at the start of the championship and they also have someone on board to manage the media.

If Mickey Harte didn't know it already, I think he discovered last week that dealing with the press can be a double-edged sword. It's probably best to keep a smile on your face and try to be as helpful as possible -- without giving too much away of course.

Sunday Indo Sport

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