Friday, February 06, 2009

The Cork Footballers are Bluffing

The current Cork football panel made a pretence of solidarity with their comrades on the 2008 hurling panel last night. The footballers released a statement that they too would withdraw their services from the Cork County Board if Gerald McCarthy remains as hurling manager.

An Spailpín Fánach is convinced to his marrow that they are bluffing, and that bluff should be called.

The reason for this is because the footballers are not going on strike now, but at the end of the National League, if McCarthy remains in charge. And if that isn’t a hedged bet then An Spailpín has never seen one.

Here’s the thing: the footballers have had all winter to decide how they feel about the hurlers, so this statement is quite late in the day. If they were serious, they’d go on strike now, and settle the thing once and for all.

But they’re clearly not willing to sacrifice the National League, and if they’re not willing to sacrifice the National League, you can be pretty damn sure they’re not going to sacrifice the Championship – not least when they themselves are a good outside bet to win the thing. Chances of an All-Ireland medal are far less common for Cork footballers than Cork hurlers; they’re not going to give that up just so Dónál Óg Cusack can indulge his ego.

It’s reasonable to presume that last night’s statement is the last throw of the dice by Cusack and his cohorts, calling in the favour they feel the footballers owe them over that Teddy Holland business last year. But the footballers haven’t bought into it, and are just doing this for show. Otherwise, they would down tools here and now. Dónal Óg and the boys are at the end of the cliff. Time to let the sea have them, and be done with the whole ugly, selfish business once and for all.

One of the hardest things to take about the current dispute was all that old blather that this was all done for the greater good of Cork hurling, and the fine young men who are coming behind. No. What age is Frank Murphy? The man is in the autumn of his years, while Cusack, Gardiner, Ó hAlpín and the rest have forty or fifty years of service each before them. They can do plenty for the future of Cork hurling in fifty years. But they’re not interested in that; only in themselves, their “careers” – funny word for an amateur game – and their own high estimation of their worth. This is their final kick, and soon we’ll be able to close the book on the whole sorry business. Thank God, and small loss.

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