GAA testimonials: Colm Cooper not just quick on his feet

THE secret of Colm Cooper’s success as a player lay not in his feet but in his head. 

He was invariably one step ahead — outpacing, out-manoeuvring but, above all, out-thinking the opposition. He has done so again, becoming the first GAA player to have a testimonial dinner.

He may also be the last, as the organisation is reportedly set to ban such events.

The testimonial is to be held at the International Hotel in Dublin’s Ballsbridge on October 27 and could raise up to €250,000, with half going to charitable causes and half going to The Gooch.

Cooper has faced a barrage of criticism for the testimonial which marks the end of his footballing career.

The most vicious came from TV commentator Joe Brolly who declared: “As an icon of Irish sport, Colm could have set an example of altruism but instead he has chosen to enrich himself.” That’s a bit rich coming from a paid pundit who is also a lawyer making, at one stage, £350,000 a year as a barrister in Derry.

The GAA may feel justified in banning such testimonials on the grounds that it undermines its amateur status but it cannot continue to demand ever greater commitment and professionalism from players without offering them some kind of compensation at the end of their playing careers — perhaps by way of a pension on retirement.

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