Martin Breheny: Forward thinking looking suspiciously backward
Tyrone's Martin Penrose, who retired last year with a well-stocked sideboard of All-Ireland and provincial titles across various grades, gave an interesting insight for Sunday's match programme in Omagh on how he perceived himself as a player.
Asked to list his three greatest strengths, he mentioned tackling, commitment and hard work. Laudable qualities, no doubt, but since Penrose was a forward, one might have expected that at least one creative dimension would have featured in his top three.
Is life as modern-day forwards so joyless that they have to think like specialist defenders?
Perhaps a clue rests in his answer to the question on his pet hate in Gaelic football.
"Introduction of the black card."
Why would a forward dislike the black card so much that Penrose listed it as his main grouse? Wasn't it introduced as an antidote to negative play, much of which is perpetrated against attackers?
Of course, if forwards now regard tackling as their greatest strength, it's hardly surprising they are wary of the black card. Marks to Penrose for his honesty but if this is forward thinking, God help football.