Friday 19 January 2018

Cooney reminds us the past is anything but ancient history

Sean Diffley

As English historian George Macaulay Trevelyan said: "History repeats itself and history never repeats itself are about equally true" and Trevelyan could well be talking about the Budget or almost any activity on this blessed little isle of ours.

That's if he was around here anymore. But a perfect example of that old adage is this strange speechifying of the current president of the GAA, his excellency Christy Cooney, who has sunk his teeth (metaphorically speaking of course) into the activities of the Wexford GAA club, Faythe Harriers, who are accused of allowing a soccer club to train on their grounds.

And that following the heinous crime of the Cork club Nemo Rangers of hosting the Irish rugby squad to train on their ranch. And all this after the GAA's much-applauded decision to open Croke Park to both rugby and soccer.

Mind you, Mr Cooney, from Cork, was far from appreciative of his members taking that particular action -- especially since he was hopeful that his influence in Cork would prevail.

So, what's it all about? Well, a ranging about some GAA clubs elicited the unsurprising news that clubs are less than financially sound as, say, the IMF, and welcome the odd chance to rent out their uninhabited grounds to the oddities that indulge in foreign games and such pastimes.

Now my rambling by phone was certainly not as authoritative as a Red C opinion poll, but I certainly gathered that a substantial number I contacted were less than enchanted by Mr Cooney's opinions and words like "appalling" and "pathetic" were liberally used -- but like a Fianna Fail TD sources preferred to remain anonymous.

But reverting to Trevelyan's dictum of history repeating itself, I was left in no doubt that many were concerned that this policy of sacrosanct GAA grounds was a drift back to the pro-ban days. The general reaction was that Mr Cooney's attitudes reflected badly on the GAA in this era of sporting ecumenism. I think some of us ought to grow up.

And since we're in the mood of scarifying presidents, what about the daddy of the philosophy that truth is a rare and precious commodity and we must be sparing in its use, the president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter.

He's so patently ridiculous in his utterances that the wonder grows that he still manages to retain his job. Accusations that members of the ruling committee were guilty of financial corruption didn't come as breaking news.

But Blatter's response is that the accusations "were some reactions of the western world of Christian background". Of course, The Pope and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

Blatter works diligently to preserve his spot at the top of the ladder. "Football has become a political matter," he tells us. "Heads of state court me, football has become a monster."

Well, I suppose it takes one to know one.

Irish Independent

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