'He likes to go against the grain just to create debate' - Colm Cooper responds to Joe Brolly criticism
Former Kerry forward Colm Cooper has responded to recent criticism from Sunday Independent columnist Joe Brolly claiming that the outspoken GAA pundit often "likes to go against the grain just to create a bit of debate".
Speaking on RTE Radio 1 on Tuesday morning, Cooper said that Brolly's opinion of him changed over his career but that he doesn't 'lie awake at night' thinking of what Joe Brolly has to say.
In his column in the Sunday Independent a fortnight ago, Brolly said that Cooper did not have a 'warrior's mentality' and that he often folded in big games, including a number of All-Ireland finals, but Cooper insists that while he respects Brolly's opinion, it's important to him that he doesn't take his thoughts too seriously.
"I take Joe for what he is, he is a very outspoken pundit," said Cooper.
"He likes to go against the grain sometimes just to create the bait. I certainly don’t lie awake at night thinking about what Joe is going to be say about me. In the earlier part of my career he thought I was a fantastic player. In the latter years he has changed a little bit.
"I played for Kerry and Dr Crokes to win medals and challenge for titles, not to satisfy Joe’s needs or what he thinks about my character.
"If I let Joe get to me I don’t think I'd ever tog out. He has his views and I think he gets a kick out of winding Kerry people up as well and they always bit back a bit as well which he loves. I don't take it too seriously."
Cooper has been a frequent visitor to Croke Park over the course of his career, and he was at GAA Headquarters only last month to pick up an All-Ireland club championship medal with his beloved Dr Crokes, but when asked how he would greet Brolly if the two were to cross paths there in the future, he said that it wouldn't be the warmest of interactions.
"I'm not too sure about that, it wouldn't be all hugs and kisses," replied Cooper when asked if he would shake Brolly's hand the next time the two met.
"I respect his opinion. I don't think it's a universal opinion if I'm being honest. That's his way of looking at things. People down in Kerry see me at club matches and playing for Kerry and how much time and effort I put into football.
"They may have different views as well and I'm sure Joe would have to respect that. They see me up close and personal and what I'm like and maybe they feel I have all the characteristics and attributes that Joe speaks about.
"They get a little bit annoyed and bite back which Joe certainly likes I think."