Tuesday 16 January 2018

have your say

Cody's Cats bring hurling to new level

In response to the letter from John Berry [Oct 23], I have a number of points to make. First of all, a point of fact. Wexford, who went on to win the final, beat Kilkenny in the 1996 championship, while Cork lost to eventual beaten finalists Limerick. As the 'back door' did not exist at this time, Mr Berry's assertion that hurling as a spectacle died in 1996 when Kilkenny 'stifled the life out of a beautifully skilled Cork team' is as incorrect as it is ignorant. By the way, 1999 was the first championship Kilkenny played under the tutorship of Brian Cody.

Mr Berry's claim that Kilkenny under the guidance of Brian Cody have somehow ruined hurling by employing so-called negative tactics, and that all the beautiful skills and wristwork have been stifled as a result, is beyond belief. Which skills does he mean? The wonderful art of high fielding? The sublime ability to clear your lines and take scores both right- and left-handed? The magnificent-to-watch hooking and blocking with the hurley? The exceptional movement and ability to score goals when most required? The strength to make and take a fair tackle? The speed of thought to somehow nearly always be able to read where the ball is going to land?

These are skills that the present Kilkenny team display in abundance almost every time they take the field. This Kilkenny team, that has inspired 'those great fighters' Tipperary to produce the best team they have had in over 40 years, that has risen the bar to a level that others are finding very difficult to reach, and that has earned the respect and plaudits of hurling commentators, managers, players (both of the present and past), deserve to be treated with more respect than Mr Berry afforded them in his letter last Sunday.

To my mind, we are in a golden age of hurling. Along with the aforementioned Tipperary team, you have Dublin with the best team they have had in nearly 50 years and Waterford, Limerick, Galway and Clare not too far off. Cork, Wexford and Offaly are all working hard to get back to the top table and are putting the behind-the-scenes systems in place that are necessary to do so.

The professionalism that Brian Cody brought to the Kilkenny panel when he took over, and the level of training and sacrifices he asks of these young men, is unbelievable. Yet they do it without complaint or any financial reward. This is the level that the other counties realise must be reached; some are closer to it than others.

If a new greatest ever hurling team was picked tomorrow, how many of Cody's 'negative, skill wreckers' would be in contention for places? Six, seven maybe? I urge you, Mr Berry, to not only read up a bit more on the records of the game but to take your black and amber blinkers off and enjoy the golden age of hurling inspired by Cody's Cats.

J Cashin

Negativity not Kilkenny's doing

Who had to bring in the short puck-out? Wexford and Cork. Who started this short-passing, pathetic game? Cork. Donal O'Grady was doing it with Limerick this summer and it was the cause of them losing against Dublin.

Waterford got a lesson when they played Kilkenny in 2008, the intimidation didn't work before the match started. It's great to see the smallest man on the field being able to catch balls out of the sky in major matches, Tommy Walsh, and players like JJ Delaney, Brian Hogan etc.

J White

GAA heroes serve communities well

Well done to Eamonn Sweeney on a brilliant piece of writing on Sunday last [Oct 23].

You captured perfectly the special role of the GAA in this country.

The article was as applicable to the smallest junior club as to the Crossmaglens etc

I think the ironic thing is that the very people who give so much of their daily lives to the Association don't realise what they are contributing to their communities.

They are so busy giving of their time that they cannot stand back and see their amazing impact in our society.

They are true heroes in today's dysfunctional world.

On a different note, the day that Croke Park hosted the England rugby game was the day that the GAA truly became the "greatest amateur sporting organisation in the world"

F O'Brien

Boys will be boys, ladies will be ladies

I really don't think boxing or football are ladies' games or sport.

Ladies in my time did not play boys' games, we were always required to be nice and ladylike, not like boys, rough or pushy.

I hate to look at females playing these male games. Maybe I'm too ladylike.

K Grace-O'Kelly

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