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30 October 2008 Edition

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More than a game BY MATT TREACY

Hangovers, Aussies and players’ revolts

Matt Treacy is unwell. So tell us something we didn’t know, you say. Depressed, hung over and staring at a blank computer screen that needs filling. The depression caused by us losing our county final on Sunday. The hangover the consequence of the post mortem.
And the next person who says “you did well to get to the final” better have a head start. On reflection it was a good achievement, a realistic one we thought when starting training on a freezing cold night in January but looking back on that just after being beaten in the final is no consolation. Not yet. Or ever.
Someone said at our last training session, when urging the virtues of avoiding strong drink for the rest of the week, that when it was all over we could spend the rest of the winter drinking if we wanted to. But that it wouldn’t be long before we’d be missing the training and the matches. And he was right. Sure what else would you be doing.
The Treacy family actually managed to lose two finals last weekend as Ciara had to be content with a silver medal in her judo competition. Watching your child fighting conjures up mixed emotions. Fear that they will be injured, wonderment that the little angel is actually fighting at all, and pride that they have the courage to get in there in the first instance.
The best thing about judo is the way the competitors bow to one another before and after the bout as well as shaking hands. Respect for the person you have beaten or has beaten you. No bad winners here.
The low point of the day, and it was a long one, was having to sit through a routine in which girls dressed in pyjamas danced with pillows. Indeed. A metaphor for the times perhaps but all we really wanted was for the medals to be presented and to go home and put our feet up. No harm to the dancers.

It will be interesting to see how the Australians react to their narrow defeat in Perth last Friday. The game itself was tellingly free of the sort of nastiness that was present in Dublin in 2006, something that has been attributed to the fact that the respective panels have gotten to know, and apparently like, one another in a social setting.
Whether that will be sufficient to curb what is no doubt a strong feeling of disappointment and a desire for revenge on the part of the Aussies remains to be seen.

Meanwhile back home the Cork hurlers have contrived once again to capture the headlines in the closed inter county season by demanding the head of poor old Gerald McCarthy, a more unassuming and pleasant chap you probably could not hope to meet connected to hurling in any part of the country.
According to Ben O’Connor, who has assumed the position of spokesperson for the players, the reason they want to get rid of McCarthy is because they are unhappy with his training methods. Something which O’Connor blames for their recent decline. The players, or most of them it would seem, have now given an ultimatum that they will refuse to play next year.
Mindful of the fact that such a strike would in effect represent two fingers to the ‘binding arbitration’ that settled the debacle earlier this year, the players have claimed that the fact they had two representatives on the selection committee was merely window dressing and that they had no influence on the decision to extend McCarthy’s term.
Which is really a case of their saying that they, the players, want a veto over the manager’s position. McCarthy, unsurprisingly, is less than impressed and is giving no hint that he has any intention at all of standing down. He must also feel, given his diplomatic silence, during the last strike, that his protégés are being slightly ungenerous to him.
And perhaps even more importantly the vox populi, the Cork GAA members and supporters, seem to be decisively opposed to the current players revolt. Without that support the players might find themselves in a far different position than prior to the league and the GAA nationally might be rather less accommodating if it comes to the stage where Cork fail once more to fulfil fixtures. 

An Phoblacht Magazine


  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

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