Read Pat Spillane every week in the Sunday World
As another football year comes to a close, Pat Spillane gives his lowlights from the 12 months of 2018.
The quality of football on offer was mostly dreadful. The number of hand passes is increasing on average by 100 per season, while the number of foot passes is dropping by 15 per cent. What we’re witnessing is a bastardised version of Gaelic football.
THE OVERRUN ON THE PAIRC UI CHAOIMH REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT
There is credible evidence that the overrun could be as high at €23m. Firstly we need to know how and why this happened. The sorry tale reinforces the argument that in a small country like Ireland, we need to build municipal stadia to cater for a variety of sports, rather than stand-alone single sports venues.
AN UNCOMPETITIVE CHAMPIONSHIP
Just look at these statistics: Dublin’s average winning margin in Leinster was 20 points, while Kerry won their games in Munster by an average of 19. In the overall series Dublin’s average victory margin was 12 points, while in 28 of the 68 games played, the winning margin was 10 points or more.
MICKEY HARTE v RTE
Mickey Harte’s refusal to engage with RTE ahead of the All-Ireland final reflected badly on all involved in the GAA in the county. Croke Park must take charge of this issue.
THE MAYO LADIES GAA MANAGER ROW
At a time when everybody involved in women’s GAA is so positive, this row was particularly unseemly and didn’t reflect well on the county’s top club Carnacon or the county’s star player Cora Staunton.
THE ALL-STAR FOOTBALL TEAM
When Colm Cavanagh is selected at full back – a position he never played in – it makes a mockery of the entire process.
In theory, it is a great idea to designate April as club only month. The reality was different.
Half the counties didn’t bother to schedule any club championship matches and the majority of county managers, with the notable exception of Jim Gavin, simply ignored the recommendation.
INTER-COUNTY TRAINING REGIMES
This is akin to an out-of-control express train which will inevitably crash one day. Will nobody shout stop? Galway is the latest example of the madness. They spend €1.8m on team expenses despite underlying financial woes.
NO HOME ADVANTAGE FOR WICKLOW AGAINST DUBLIN IN LEINSTER SFC
The Leinster Council will only allow Dublin play in four ‘outside’ venues in the province. Aughrim isn’t one of them and so they could not host the Dubs this year.
THE SUPER 8s
The Round 1 series of games in Croke Park were a disaster: small crowds, bad weather and poor football. It was a bad start and the series never fully recovered.
VIOLENCE ON THE FIELD
We had a catalogue of incidents all over the country in club games in the autumn. The GAA needs to send out a message. For starters, anybody who crosses the white line and assaults a player must b e suspended for at least a year.
THE LIAM MILLER TESTIMONIAL
Granted, the GAA were bounced into the row and ultimately credit must be given to President John Horan and Director general Tom Ryan for helping to sort it out. But the affair, together with the Newbridge debacle, emphasised the need for Croke Park to be more proactive – and sort out any such issues before they turn into major controversies.
Dublin star Brian Fenton is thrilled that Jim Gavin has extended his stay as manager after agreeing to a new two-year extension to take him up to the end of the 2021 championship.