Cork hurling and football crisis – who cares?

There are several things in life that one can take for granted. Kerry win football titles, Kilkenny win hurling titles, Cork win some of each but don’t win enough of either of them. One of the reasons for this may be detected in the current civil war between the players and the County Board which has resulted in the players refusing to play. There is no point in engaging in a minute analysis of who said what and when, not least because in general the public, me included have no interest in the detail. As a true rebel I’m only interested in having the team play at its best and to be in the shakedown for either or both titles come September.

Along the way, I’ll have spent my euros supporting the teams, I’ll have had my say in the car and bar on the composition of the team and I’ll have thrown myself wholeheartedly into the business of being a Cork man who cares passionately about the success or failure of his team. Now it strikes me that that description probably fits the players who play for the county at every level, the administrators at all levels and the backroom team of physios, kit men, groundsmen and so on, the vast majority of whom, like the players are amateur, unpaid and do it because they love it and want to make a difference. Want in short, to win things.

What we have here in Cork is a power struggle between the old guard, the torch bearers, who for the past 125 years have caused this extraordinary cultural, social and sporting organisation we know as the G.A.A., to become the world-renowned phenomenon that it is and the legions of players who for too long have been the currency used and discarded by the very thing they have helped create. In Cork there is a passion amongst the players and supporters to be the best and for the players to be the best prepared. In the past the tradition has been that the players are told what they will be allowed to have, what can be afforded; sometimes that’s been enough but more often the standards have fallen below what is expected and indeed what is the norm in other counties. So along the way maybe we’ve not won as many titles as we should have but sure we do alright don’t we? And there is the crux of the problem. To some, the players are getting uppity and need to be taken down a peg or two, to others, the more vocal players are eyed suspiciously as fifth columnists “the enemy within” who have all sorts of agendas including pay for play. I suspect the majority just want the dispute to go away without caring how, so that the teams get out on the field and we have something to look forward to come May when the days are longer and all positive results are still possible.

For me, it’s not about democracy or indeed the G.A.A.’s preferred weapon of choice, bureaucracy, it’s about cutting the players some slack and giving them a bigger say in how things get done for them. It’s the players who work their backsides off, the players who make the sacrifices, the players who take the abuse and yes the players who also get the glory. But imagine at the end of your career looking back at the sacrifice, the pain and the glory and imagine thinking that your true potential went unfulfilled because bureaucracy and rules and egos put obstacles in your way. Wouldn’t you, given the chance to do something about it, do it? I would.

Whatever ones opinion check there is no denying that when everything within the Cork GAA camp runs smoothly, the action in Pairc Ui Chaoimh grounds can be electrifying when an onsong Cork hurling or football team takes on the might of the other GAA giants.

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10 Responses to Cork hurling and football crisis – who cares?

  1. The Cat says:

    Hopefully this will run into the summer and we’ll hear ‘The Rose of Mooncoin’ belting out for the third year in a row come September.

    On a serious note though- what do you think of the unanimous vote of confidence for Frank Murphy at the recent county board meeting?

    I did’nt think he was that popular

  2. Conor Buckley says:

    As a correction: Cork Win Hurling Titles. In fact we have won more than anyone else. Albeit Kilkenny have tied the honour list in the last few months with a very soft All Ireland.

    The men of the West would have you belive football is equally important as Hurling in Cork. It’s not.

    The players have grievances no doubt but compromises should be made on both sides. No team gets to pick the Manager, selectors etc. Bit of growing up needed on both sides. Only people this is helping are the Kilkenny hurlers.

  3. A true Cork Rebel says:

    Both sides need to sit down and swallow some pride. Individual pride will get Cork nowhere, pride in the jersey is what we require. Nobody should have to step down. It looks likes the hurlers are running the footballers, you don’t see too many hurling players in Limerick or Portlaoise supporting the footballers when they are playing Championship. As a famous Cork man once said – ‘prawn sandwich’ fans!!!!

  4. Redish says:

    I think that this has gone on for too long, Do the players not want to play for Cork? If they dont play in the national league at all this year then it will be a disgrace and the GAA will have reached a new low in Cork.

    will this detract from the support that these cork teams are so used to having? I think so!

  5. paul.obrien says:

    Conor – my point was “not enough of them” I think we might have won more without some of the county board’s administrators “help”. The players have been clumsy in their handlling of the dispute and there clearly is not a great deal of support for them on this forum. However someone must blink.

    To the cat – dream on, you may have a lot of empty challenge games or whatever it is you call the Leinster Championship but come September you will find the Munster challenge will have a red colour to it. Be afraid – your days are numbered (as champions).

  6. RoyK says:

    Gentlemen,
    The vote for Frank Murphy was obviously an open show of hands. Nobody ever gets a unanimous vote of confidence with absolutely no voice of dissent in a private ballot!?! Saddam Hussein used to get re-elected at every election in iraq for the same reason.
    The rest of the county board are obviously afraid of Frank! While I say fair play to the players for having the courage to ask for his resignation, it is still dragging on too long and they are losing favour with the ordinary Cork supporter. There needs to be a compromise on both sides but it`s hard to see who is going to shift position

  7. The West Awake says:

    My take on the situation is that what is required is a good old fashioned ‘root and branch’ review undertaken by consultants fresh from the FAI review. Undoubtely they would want to do a reverse engineering project on Frank Murphy and Sean Og. This should be followed by a tribunal of public enquiry chaired by Jimmy Magee

  8. Mick Mackey says:

    The West Awake, you are spot on.
    This problem will only be solved short term and long term by a complete overhaul of CCB. As somebody pointed out, Saddam Hussein was a mighty man to win elections and votes of confidence. We could also add Mugabe Mao Tse Tung etc.
    It must be clear to the unbiased that 30/60 young rebels just would not travel down this road of strife without thinking of the consequences. They are all adults, hopefully. You ould say any one of those 60 lads wouldn’t be easily intimidated on the field so its only resonable to assume that their togetherness on this issue is not forced on them by any one or two individuals within the group. The same couldn’t be said for the delegates to CCB. Some, if not most of these lads have been eating the crumbs from the top table for years.

  9. deiseach says:

    “For me, it’s not about democracy or indeed the G.A.A.’s preferred weapon of choice, bureaucracy, it’s about cutting the players some slack and giving them a bigger say in how things get done for them. It’s the players who work their backsides off, the players who make the sacrifices, the players who take the abuse and yes the players who also get the glory.”

    Haha! Administrators work their backside off and make sacrifices for the association too, the only difference being that sitting in a commitTEE room is a grind while pucking / kicking a ball around a field is enjoyable. I’ll take the man shoving the coal into the furnaces to keep the engine going over the preening popinjay on the bridge any day

  10. francis duggan says:

    As for the Cork hurling dispute it would seem to me that the players are the those who stand to lose most as they are expected to play by the supporters of the County they represent yet having said that I do believe they are right in what they are trying to achieve as for Gerald McCarthy I do feel sorry for him but I cannot understand why he doesn’t resign he has allowed himself to become the meat in the sandwich between the County Board and the players and he is on a loser on this one, Frank Murphy has been around as an administrator with Cork G A A since I was a young Person in Millstreet and I cannot believe that he is still around and has been re-elected unaminously, maybe the officials who voted for him should start training with the Cork hurling panel and see how they do go, don’t even know why I am wrting this as I have have been living for such a long time out of Ireland and I am not a G A A fan as such though do I do look at the results
    from Ireland, the most successful G A A players are playing Australian Rules Football, Tadgh Kenneally, Setanta O Hailpin, Martin Clarke, Pierce Hanley and it does seem a pity for Colm Begley that he has been delisted by Brisbane, hope he finds another Club who will draft him as for the Cork players good on you, I for one applaud you in what you are trying to achieve just to have a say on who should be your Manager.

    F Duggan

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