Angry fans

Cork fans seem more rueful than angry after Kerry's All Ireland senior football victory on Sunday. What's the point in being angry when you run into a class act like the Kingdom's footballers? At the same time, some fans argue that the dominance of Kerry and Kilkenny over the football and hurling championships is not good for the GAA.

Despite his controversial decision not to 'card' Tadhg Kennelly in the first minute of the game, referee Marty Duffy gets good ratings, but there's scorn heaped on former 'greats' Mick O'Dwyer and Billy Morgan for criticising him before he even threw in the ball.

Things are buzzing down around the South East. Waterford football fans - yes, there are such people - don't like the way their Bainisteoir, John Kiely, lost his job. In Carlow, they're angry about a proposal to scrap competitive games up to under twelve level while next door, in Wexford, they're plotting ways to try and beat Kilkenny in hurling again... some time.

Get in touch: Give your views and comments to An Fear Rua himself at GAA Angry Fans in 'The Irish Examiner' Just drop an email to gaafans@examiner.ie and get AFR's reaction to what you have to say. If you make the 'Comment of the Week', we have a fabulous prize of exclusive 'his or hers' GAA t-shirts, supplied by our old pals at Puckout.com, where you can design your own club or county leisure wear.

YELLOW CARD - KERRY DIDN'T WIN on Sunday. Cork lost. How did we do it? The misses were absolutely shocking. Is it any wonder we abandon the football team at the first sign of hurling success?
- Irish Magic

AFR'S SHOUT: Surely that was the whole point? You don't miss. You score. The team who scores most wins. Deservedly - like Kerry.

TICK IN THE BOOK - WHENEVER CORK STARTED to get close Kerry stepped up about two gears, kicked over three points and suddenly it was game over. Kerry were a class above Cork which is strange when you consider that Cork outplayed Kerry twice in the Munster Championship this year. It just goes to show that Kerry produce it when it matters most and Cork just don't seem to have the mentality on the big day.
- Galway for Liam

AFR'S SHOUT: We come back to the basics. Scores win games, not wides. Apart from the opening ten minutes, Cork also began the second half well but blazed at least six or seven scoring chances wide. On the other hand, by the sixtieth minute, Kerry had mounted six attacks and scored five times!

TADHG KENNELLY WAS a lucky man to stay on the field after his foul on Noel O'Leary from the throw in. It was a calculated act in the hope that Marty Duffy, who had come in for a lot of pre-match criticism, would have been reluctant to show a card so early on. There would have been uproar if he had sent him off.
- Scared of soccer

AFR'S SHOUT: It was a big call for Marty Duffy to make so early in the game. I thought it merited a card of some colour but I'm glad I'm not the one who had to decide. Apart from that one decision, Marty Duffy had an excellent game and he put paid to all the pre-match carping from former 'greats' who should know better.

RED CARD - THE BLOW HAS fallen. With Kilkenny winning the hurling championship yet again and Kerry winning for the fifth time in ten years, what future is there for hurling and football? The GAA should beware. Soccer and Munster rugby are breathing down their necks!
- Postman

AFR'S SHOUT: I wish I had a Euro for every time somebody writes an obituary for Gaelic games whenever a county wins the All Ireland in quick succession. It happens just as often in other sports. For example, Manchester United are going for their fourth successive Premiership title. Quite simply, Kerry and Kilkenny are by far and away the best counties in their respective chosen codes. The GAA has survived far worse 'crises' in the past.

TICK IN THE BOOK - JACK O'CONNOR HAS proved he is one of the great managers of all time, in any county. But, he certainly made one risky decision that most definitely wasn't a success. Replacing a star performer like Kennelly was a very risky decision that he absolutely got away with.
- Pog Mahone

AFR'S SHOUT: Every one of Jack's substitutions worked well and I include Donnachadh Walsh in that comment. Kennelly in his post-match interview made it clear that he had given it everything - running non-stop for the first fifty minutes of the game - and he had no problem with being 'subbed'.

'UP FOR THE Match' showed the dearth of RTÉ's imagination in relation to pre-match programmes. There was a time when you could expect good speakers from Kerry, for example, as in Bryan McMahon, John B Keane or Brendan Kennelly. I am all for Irish culture and tradition and all that but the level of gombeenism on show put the rest of the country to shame.
- Sunday after Sunday

AFR'S SHOUT: Nothing - not even NAMA or the Lisbon Treaty - divides the nation in quite the same way as 'Up for the Match'. One thing we can all agree on, however. Gráinne Seoighe is getting better and better as a TV presenter now that she's finished with that dreadful afternoon programme she used to host.

I THINK IT was very unfair of Mick O'Dwyer and Billy Morgan to criticise referee Marty Duffy before he even threw in the ball in Sunday's All Ireland football final. It's not the ref's job to 'let the game flow'. It's up to the players themselves to play the game in the correct spirit and ensure that they make it flow. His duty was to control the game in accordance with the rules something that really didn't happen in the hurling final and, arguably, cost Tipperary the All-Ireland (and I'm no Tipp Man!). Marty Duffy is up there with the best in the game in this regard and I, for one, was happy to see him appointed and thought he did well on Sunday.
- Mr Darkly

AFR'S SHOUT: The two lads' comments were absolutely out of order and they must be feeling right 'eejits' now. It was inexplicable that GAA officialdom did not defend the match referee in public. The two boyos' enthusiasm for Pat McEneaney may be understandable but we can't schedule referees for All Irelands on the basis that there is only one man in the entire 32-counties capable of doing the job properly.

RED CARD WITH THE BACKDOOR system now in place we have a kind of open draw but as we have seen from other codes the straight knock out concept has been outmoded by the Premiership, Champions League and Heineken Cup. A seeded open draw would be an ideal solution in the games of the Gaels. This seeded system could be based on National League placings, whereby Division One teams would occupy the top eight seedings in football, and this system, in turn, would give teams an incentive to take that competition more seriously. For hurling, the top four would suffice for seedings.
- Rebelier

AFR'S SHOUT: I know you put a lot of thought into your proposal, Rebelier, which I've shortened to make space for other comments. I strongly disagree with you. The only place for seeds in the GAA should be for improving the surface in Croke Park. Championships should be decided in an open draw, knockout competition.

CORK FOOTBALLERS GAVE their fans tremendous value for money this summer. Sadly, they fell at the last hurdle. Since 1973 Cork have appeared in nine All Ireland football finals, winning three. It's about performance on the day. Too many Cork players came up short and maybe management were perhaps too loyal to some players. The middle diamond was the area where Cork struggled, yet the management made no effort to rectify the situation. Kerry, to their credit, showed all the experience which has made them the most successful county in Ireland. It is a good Cork team but they need someone in the full forward line to win primary possession.
- Pat Harrington

KERRY BEAT CORK again in Croke Park on Sunday mainly because tactically they had their homework done to perfection. Unfortunately, Cork were found somewhat wanting on the day and they left their shooting boots in the dressing room. Certainly, they have made significant progress since 2007 and, up to Sunday, were arguably the best team in the championship this year. So we must have hope and believe that this year will prove to be a stepping stone to the ultimate grail in the next couple of years. For this Rebel, Cork is the only show in town and there is no intention of abandoning the cause.
- Disappointed but still hopeful

AFR'S SHOUT: I'm a big fan of this Cork team and their management. They haven't become a poor team overnight and they will be back in the frame as serious contenders for All Ireland honours again next year.

NOW THAT THE 125 Year celebrations are drawing to a close I hope we'll have no more of this flag waving and thunderous drumming before finals in Croke Park. Can we not just go back to having the Artane Band playing favourite tunes from the competing counties?
- Sally Dee

AFR'S SHOUT: Outfits like Macnas from Galway and Spraoi from Waterford have certainly left their mark on the way public events are celebrated and not always for the better. Often, we just get low budget copies of the original. The pre-match 'entertainment' at All Ireland finals is a prime example of this unfortunate development.

TICK IN THE BOOK - I WAS DELIGHTED to see the Kerry fans in their thousands defying the powers that be and invading the pitch at the end of Sunday's final to acclaim their heroes in the time honoured way. Long may it continue!
- Dingle Dan

AFR's SHOUT: I dunno. I'm coming round to the view that maybe we should try a spectacular 'bells and whistles' Champions League-style presentation on a centre-field podium with the fans marshalled back beyond the '45 lines'. We owe it to the winners to do better than this heaving throng of fans milling around the pitch, gawping into TV cameras and thumping players on the back, while ignoring 'speeches' being bellowed out on a poor PA system from the Hogan Stand.

TICK IN THE BOOK I THINK IT'S a bit much of the Munster rugby crowd to be telling young lads they will be dropped from a development squad if they miss training in order to play for their club in a Limerick minor football semi final. No youngster should be put in a position like that. The rugby crowd are really aggressive in their attitude and are forcing lads of fifteen, sixteen and seventeen to stop playing GAA with friends they've played with for more than ten years.
- East Gael

AFR'S SHOUT: It always causes problems when one sport forces the issue like this instead of maintaining a policy of 'live and let live'. Many young lads are put off by the intensity of rugby coaching and the danger of serious injury. GAA is still getting its fair share of teenagers sticking with the games so let's keep this in perspective.

WHAT A DISGRACEFUL way to treat John Kiely, the man who dragged Waterford football from the gutter. I'm raging at this. Not one member of County Board made any effort to contact him about his views on next year. The man was only one game away from promotion for the last two years. The County Board don't want a successful football team. John Owens didn't achieve much in his year with the Tipperary footballers so he's not the solution.
- The umpire

AFR'S SHOUT: John Kiely did about as much as he could with the players available to him, given that some of Waterford's best footballers give their primary allegiance to hurling. The new Bainisteoir, John Owens, has an impressive track record having played football at minor (on the excellent Tipp team of 1984 who reached an All Ireland final!), under 21 and senior for Tipperary as well as on Railway Cup teams and winning county medals with Moyle Rovers.

YELLOW CARD - I AM TOTALLY opposed to the new rule being proposed in Carlow whereby all under ten and under twelve tournaments will be ended and replaced by non-competitive games like 'Go Games' and blitzes. In sport, you have to learn to win and lose early on. If you start taking away scores and telling them it doesn't matter the games will suffer.
- Sam Og

AFR'S SHOUT: As far as I know, Kilkenny have no competitive games in hurling until under fourteen and it doesn't seem to have harmed their prospects much. They are turning out huge numbers of highly skilled young hurlers. Could this have anything to do with the fact that youngsters are encouraged to develop their skills rather than amassing huge collections of underage 'medals'?

WEXFORD'S ARCH RIVALS have now won their 'four in a row', so where does that leave the men of Loch Garman? For most of the last century we were the Cats' main opposition but now we've slid down below Galway, Offaly and even Dublin. Personally, I think we'll have to aim for winning Leinster rather than an All Ireland for the foreseeable future. I also wish Liam Griffin would stop complaining about the situation and try to be a bit more positive.
- Postie

AFR'S SHOUT: In fairness to Liam Griffin I think he has become disillusioned because the breakthrough he led in 1996 has never been built on. Change has been slow in coming in the Model county but at least there is a crucial meeting of the clubs on the 28th of this month to debate how the championships locally should be overhauled and to put a plan in place up to 2015. Wexford have just produced two competitive minor teams in a row for the first time in many years and Colm Bonnar is proving to be a good influence on the senior county panel. It's not all doom and gloom.

RED CARD - WHY DO THE media always seem to overlook all the problems in rugby but are quick to harp on the GAA? They never mention things like melees in club rugby, elitism in schools, eye gouging and trying to equate the Heineken Cup with an All Ireland! If there's a fracas at a junior football match it's plastered all over the papers and gets mentioned by Joe Duffy on 'Liveline'.
- Shawnee

AFR'S SHOUT: The recent 'bloodgate' scandal has seriously damaged rugby's image and exposed a vacuum of moral values at the heart of their professional game. The media played a leading role in exposing that scandal. Critical coverage of the GAA is not the result of some media conspiracy operated by past pupils of posh rugby schools. Most of those boyos were creaming it as bankers or lawyers - not journalists - during the years of the Celtic Tiger!

THE GAA SHOULD fund medical research into the effect of the frontal shoulder charge. As far as I know, similar tackles in Rugby are deemed dangerous. The GAA should use research in other physical contact sports to inform themselves of common dangers. The rules should reflect the findings of such research. Let's get rid of the cry 'It's a man's game' and protect players, not pander to the blood lust of spectators. In my opinion, the GAA has an obligation to get medical direction on all possible injuries that may occur in their games.
- Zimmerman

AFR'S SHOUT: The approach to this type of tackle seems to vary according to the code involved. In Aussie Rules they call it 'the shirt front' tackle and they allow it. It is also allowed in Rugby League, but not in Rugby Union. In hurling and Gaelic football it's a foul and gets a yellow card for the offender. Your overall point about sharing the results of medical research from other sports is sensible.

I WOULD LIKE to thank 'The Irish Examiner' for allowing space for people to vent their anger and frustration regarding the atrocious decisions made by Mr Kirwan in the All Ireland hurling final between Tipp and Kilkenny. What an injustice to Tipperary players. Maybe some good will come of it if we get video refereeing where important decisions/calls need to be made - for example, penalties or not!! - but that will be cold comfort for Tipp. this year.
- Mary

AFR'S SHOUT: Last week we had Niamh sticking up for the hurlers of Tipperary, this week it's Mary. We just hope the men of the Premier county appreciate and cherish their feisty women.
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Comment of the Week: 'Zimmerman' reminds us of the importance of the various footballing codes pooling their medical research and expertise for the benefit of players' safety, especially in devising clear, consistent rules on shoulder tackles. For that sensible suggestion, he wins his choice of a His or Hers GAA t-shirt from our friends at Puckout.com where you can design your own leisure wear online.

CATCH UP with more great conversation and craic on 'An Fear Rua - The GAA Unplugged!' at www.anfearrua.com


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