Life’s a Beach

There are just so many things that we could talk about. Usually I keep this simple; discuss the games from the weekend before, try to keep it balanced and fair while also offering my irrelevant opinions and limited insights. And there was so much to talk about last weekend.

You could talk about the footballers for example. How bad the performance was. How they were penalised for touching the ball on the ground on at least five occasions. How they let themselves so open and vulnerable from the opposition’s kick-outs by leaving a two-on-two situation in front of their own goal with 60 yards of open space before them. You could talk about their reluctance to kick the ball and their obsession with running it. You could talk about their flatness in the first-half and their lack of scoring power. You could point out that they never cease amaze.

Then there was the hurling. You could have a chat about how they looked pretty good in the first twenty minutes. You’d love to talk about the touch of genius Patrick Horgan treated us to while scoring his goal. You could talk about Colm Spillane, and how he seems to be the only player who is pushing on from last year. You could talk about Waterford, the pulling, the dragging and how it’s part of the game and how you must just come up with a way of beating it.

You could talk about Tadhg de Búrca and his strength under the high ball. You could then talk about the logic of Cork launching ball after ball down his throat, and how they insisted on dropping frees into the Waterford square, a place where Cork forwards can’t go. You could discuss why the speed of free-taking that we saw in the Kilkenny game has been replaced with a slow, predictable process that is detrimental to the team.

You could talk about Cork’s discipline. How Séamus Harnedy’s sending-off was at best silly, at worst irresponsible and reckless. You could then discuss how he seems to get booked in every game for silly, loose tackles. You could then point out that it was the second time in succession against Waterford that a red card proved very costly to Cork.

Then there’s the further problem of discipline. How that every time that Cork got close to Waterford they gave it back all too easily through silly, unnecessary frees. They got it back to a point just before half-time and then gave away two silly frees. They managed to level it in the second half before giving Páraic Mahony three more free shots at the posts.

You could then temper all that frustration by chatting about how it was still only February. How the league is different this year and how the real judgement will come in May. But you’d still chat about how you were beginning to get a little bit worried.

The mention of February could then open a whole other range of things to talk about. You could discuss the folly of the GAA playing pretty much the full programme of league fixtures of a summer sport in winter. You could ask why in God’s name did they still play the pre-season competitions? You could then be flabbergasted by the decision to carry on with the knock-out stages of the league.

Then there’s the havoc that the new league created in relation to the Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cups. You could talk about whether the third level institutions would be happy to continue paying bursaries when their premier competitions have been so blatantly undermined. You could then chat about the level of thought that went into this brave new year. What would the conclusion be? Not much.

This would then bring the discussion neatly onto Congress. You could chat about how it often doesn’t seem to deal with the issues that are important to the grassroot members. You could question the ex-presidents. No, not the bank robbers from Point Break, the actual ex-presidents. You could talk about whether it’s right or not that they still get to vote at Congress.

You could also talk about why those at Congress seem to be so scared of transparency; why the simple, sensible motion put forward by the CPA was rejected so emphatically. You could chat about the innate conservatism that exists there. You might even give out about it. You could rage about Cork always being amongst the vanguard of this conservatism, how the word ‘no’ is as important to their lexicon as it is to a very different bunch of conservatives far away to the North.

To make yourself feel better, you could then talk about Nemo Rangers. How amazing they are. How great their win was against Slaughtneil. You could marvel at their confidence, their style of football and their attitude. You could question why all other Cork teams seem to have lost the aura that Nemo still possess.

But really, what’s the point in talking about any of this? What’s the point when one of the most basic thing of all can’t be done right? What’s the point when it can’t even be admitted that it’s a major problem and try and claim that the double header was the main reason for it? What’s the point in talking about anything else when the pitch is the way it is?

John Coleman

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