Thursday 22 March 2018

Colm Cooper ruled out of Kerry's clash with 'disrespected' Banner

Colm Cooper will play for Kerry again next year
Colm Cooper will play for Kerry again next year
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Colm Cooper has been ruled out of Sunday's first All-Ireland football quarter-final as Kerry face Clare for the second time in this year's championship, Eamonn Fitzmaurice has confirmed.

Cooper damaged shoulder ligaments when he was pushed to the ground in the Munster final against Tipperary.

Johnny Buckley and Mikey Geaney will also be sidelined for the game which sees the Munster champions face Division 3 opposition for the third successive time this season.

That has led to a renewal of disapproval in some quarters for the championship structures but Kingdom manager Fitzmaurice feels that's a disrespectful line to take towards both Clare and Tipperary.

"There is a huge lack of respect towards them. They were being dismissed because we beat them. It was very disrespectful. Both teams have gone on to show the quality they have," he said.

"Of the teams that played in Division 1 this year, only two haven't been beaten by a team from a lower division - ourselves and Dublin.

"The other six have all been beaten by teams in lower divisions.

"I think that shows the work that is going in counties, particularly in Clare and Tipperary, the progress they have made and the wins they have had.


"There was a reaction after the weekend results when it was confirmed that we were playing Clare - words like 'farcical' were being used - that we were in an All-Ireland semi-final without having played a game.

"Again, I found that disrespectful to Clare, in particular, given they had got to an All-Ireland quarter-final on merit having played three tough games (Laois, Sligo and Roscommon)."

Fitzmaurice and selector Diarmuid Murphy took themselves off to Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday to watch Tipperary beat Derry, noting that it was the second successive year he had gone to the 'wrong' venue to track potential quarter-final opponents.

"It was the second year in a row that Diarmuid and I went for Breffni Park," he said.

"With regard to playing Derry, it needed both results to go our way because if either Roscommon or Tipperary won, Roscommon couldn't play Galway and we couldn't play Tipperary. Derry was the unknown quantity. I was anxious to see Derry in case they were the team we played."

Fellow selectors Mikey Sheehy, Liam Hassett and Padraig Corcoran were in Salthill to watch Clare progress.

Irish Independent

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