We live in very strange times. I don’t think it is overstating it to quote the increasingly used phrase that “the world has gone mad”.
Climate change is making our weather so bad that two dry days in a row is considered a good stretch.
Politics across the world is beyond parody with populism the order of the day and the leaders of the so-called free world prone to stretching the boundaries of truth and decency.
Coronavirus threatens to bring the country to a grinding halt as health officials and the government struggle to control its inevitable spread. Sport may well be one of its big casualties.
People are already starting to stockpile toilet roll and pasta, a sure sign of a world gone mad.
Social media has taken over many peoples lives with keyboard warriors using it as a medium to pore out their nastiness to and about people they don’t even know.
Nothing is a secret anymore as every aspect of life is shared for all to see.
Whilst there is plenty to take offence at, we are also living in times where people go out of their way to be offended in things.
This week Kilcummin GAA in Kerry felt the need to apologise for footage of a training session that was released.
The footage showed players wrestling each other in the mud, (in some places people pay to see that sort of thing) being roared at by an overzealous coach using very industrial language.
Why the club felt the need to apologise is beyond me and a sure sign of the crazy world we live in.
I have no idea who would have found the images offensive and if they are likely to be offended my advice would be not to watch it.
I was more offended that someone in the club chose to share it.
Now don’t get me wrong as training drills go it was far from pretty though I am sure the coaches aim was to build character and toughness.
I don’t personally think Kilcummin should say sorry for that although whoever had to wash the gear of the players involved does deserve some sort of apology.
What it did show was that even with the developments in sports science and coaching techniques old school methods are still alive and well in the GAA.
I can recall many horrible nights in days gone by wading through the muck “building character”, the type of stuff players of today rarely see.
Some would say there is still a place for it and Kilcummin will point to the fact that they became All Ireland Intermediate club champions, so it clearly didn’t do them any harm.
To further prove the point that all is not well in the world Sleacht Néill are no longer All Ireland camogie champions and there are no club finals on St. Patricks day.
Sleacht Néill’s amazing run to a potential four in row came to an end with defeat to old adversaries Sarsfield’s of Galway in the final. As they get over the disappointment, they can rightly reflect on their achievements proud in the knowledge they have left a legacy unlikely to be surpassed in the near future.
As for St. Patricks day I am still getting over the fact that there will be no club finals in Croke Park.
I always loved St. Patricks day and either going to Croke to watch or settling in the Club to watch them on television. I think the GAA have missed a trick in not having a major event on the day now and surely, they need to fill that gap with something.
The latter stages of the league would be one suggestion. I have reluctantly accepted that the club final on that day is no longer an option as they move to complete it in the calendar year though I continue to feel that taking it away has taken some shine and profile from the competition.
With all the madness in the world, on the positive side we are moving towards the spring of the year and the longer evenings.
The pace of the games starts to rise as the leagues move to their conclusion and the championship draws nearer.
My weekend was brightened as I watched a goal that was as close to perfection on a hurling field as you are likely to see.
Gearoid Hegarty’s goal for Limerick against Waterford ticked all the right boxes.
A great catch in the half back line, ball laid off, played into space in the half forward line, landed into the danger area, another great catch, lay off to the on running Hegarty and Bang, a joy to watch!!
Then the following day Jason Forde almost matched it as Tipperary pinged the ball around like the Harlem Globetrotters. The top teams’ wizardry on the ball is what sets them apart and a seriously competitive championship looks guaranteed.
Ulster counties have created their own positives with Antrim, Derry, Down, Armagh and Donegal all contesting league finals in their respective divisions.
It will be great to see some movement up the Divisions to continue to improve the standards.
In conclusion isn’t it good to know that in a world gone mad, the hurling action to come will provide a glimmer of hope and a source of entertainment that will cheer us all up.