Friday 25 May 2018

'There was a poisonous tinge to it' - Marc Ó Sé slams criticism of Colm Cooper's Munster final performance

Marc Ó Sé has launched a staunch defence of Colm Cooper
Marc Ó Sé has launched a staunch defence of Colm Cooper
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Kerry legend Marc Ó Sé has slammed criticism of his former teammate Colm Cooper for his performance in Dr Croke's Munster final defeat to Nemo Rangers last weekend.

The 34-year-old laughed off suggestions in the aftermath of the game that he would  could consider retiring from club football.

Cooper delivered an abnormally meek display as the Kerry side relinquished their Munster and All-Ireland titles at Pairc Uí Rinn.

Writing in the Irish Independent on Monday, Eamonn Sweeney suggested that the furore surrounding Cooper's controversial €250k testimonial in October had detracted from his game.

"Colm Cooper hasn't seemed like a footballer lately. He has become a living legend, a source of controversy, a fledgling pundit, a chat show guest, a handy target for mean-spirited criticism, an autobiographical subject. You'd have been forgiven for thinking he'd retired altogether," he wrote.

"The guys in the dinner jackets feted him and, in the words of Billy Joel, sat at the bar and put bread in his jar. Though maybe it was the footballer himself who wondered what he was doing there. They told Gooch how great he was and they were right about that.

"But all the hoopla, the having to explain himself, the kind of rows he'd have steered away from on the pitch, the serving of those two demanding masters, publicity and posterity, can't have been fun.

"They'd have taken it out of anyone, let alone a player whose career had been an object lesson in how to stay away from the off-pitch limelight.

"Then, in the dying days of November, he had to leave that world and face up to men who didn't want to praise him or ask his opinion on the state of football or wonder what had been his happiest moment. They just wanted to beat him and his team. And they did."

Read more: Eamonn Sweeney: Gooch left behind as time and football march on

Writing in today's Irish Daily Mail, Ó Sé baulked at the suggestion that the five-time All-Ireland winner was lacking in hunger.

"Criticism is a part of the game and something that never unduly bothered me, but there was a poisonous tinge to the critique of Colm Cooper's display in last Sunday's Munster final in one national newspaper," he said.

"The piece sought to suggest that Dr Crokes' defeat to Nemo was a reality check for Gooch, who no longer had the stomach for the battle as a result of being feted at his testimonial.

"It was a cheap shot at a player who never stepped back from a battle and who would never be anything less than focused on his job.

"Sometimes you just do not play well and sometimes you just get beaten by a better team, which Nemo Rangers were last Sunday.

"All that is fair analysis, but it takes some joining of the dots to link a poor performance on the pitch to a dinner eaten last month, which evidently some who did not even attend have still some trouble digesting."

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