No games make Gaels dull boys
I’VE interviewed a number of Inter-county players in recent weeks, and they have admitted that being in lockdown has been a struggle. They say that training without any goals is troublesome, and they find it hard to give it their all as they don’t know if the game is going to return. Mental health is an important issue, and one that hopefully we will all think more about in this time of lockdown. These players are dealing with issues of psychology and how to take care of their mind. What occurs to me though, away from the issue of mental health, is that structure in the season is so important, and if we think about how often club players spend training rather than playing, one wonders how they handle those mental challenges.
Advanced mark preparation
THERE remains the possibility that clubs will be told later this year that games will be resuming in a couple weeks’ time. This unique season has already presented many difficulties, and one possible one will be a lack of preparation time for the new advanced mark rule. While county teams have experience of it, clubs certainly don’t. Perhaps it may even give a team a real advantage if they focus on it massively in what could be a small window. Here’s hoping it’s an issue we have to deal with anyway.
Talking to referees
LAST week I contacted three ladies footballers to ask them about physicality in their game. I had heard from a few players and managers that they felt that the game had gotten too soft, and players at club level were sometimes not allowed to make the sort of tackles that are made in the men’s game. It feels like there is a latent sexism going on, a sexism that harks back to the days when we felt that ladies needed protecting. Certainly the three girls that I spoke to felt that physicality in their game added a new dimension, but the issue was also about how they train. They felt that harder training, improved their performance, and the harder hits made them better. But one of the take-aways for me was that they said refereeing was the issue, and that there was oftentimes a discrepancy in how games were officiated. The occasions when games were refereed well happened when referees were clear about the rules at the start of the game.
Go to see the player, not the game
SPEAKING to ‘Shorty’ Treanor this week reminded me of one of the romantic aspects of Gaelic games – people going to see players rather than teams. For example, when Burren used to play in the ‘80s people would go to watch ‘Shorty’ with the match secondary. The Down man himself talks about the same happening when Frank McGuigan came to Burren for an Ulster Club game. Maybe it’s down to packed defences, but we no longer seem to hear too much of people travelling to different counties to watch certain players. Maybe it’s something we could get back to if a few new superstars start to emerge.