As much as they have united GAA lovers in support of their double quest, Loughmore-Castleiney have probably ignited as many rows. and reopened the dual debate in many clubs as well as pubs.
“What Loughmore have redone is next to impossible but they have done the impossible,” is how Mark Landers put it on Dalo’s Hurling Podcast, talking about the club's achievement of winning both Tipperary senior championships.
Tj Ryan admits he has been sceptical about how players and clubs can marry both codes effectively, but says Loughmore have “certainly put the myth that it can’t be done to bed.”
But Landers isn’t so sure the club is a model many can reasonably follow: “I think Loughmore are possibly the exception to the rule. It’s been a bone of contention with a lot of clubs in Cork: Douglas, Ballincollig, the Barrs…
“It’s not ideal and if you have management pulling against each other the players get caught in the middle. If the players are happy and there's no hassle, most ordinary club fellas just want to just play for the jerseys and the parish. It’s the management teams that make it awkward and want to be seen to get their piece of flesh and do what they can for their team.”
The club’s insistence on the same management team for both codes is vital to Loughmore-Castleiney, points out Ken Hogan, who led St Rynagh’s to the Offaly senior hurling title with up to seven of his regular players also playing Senior B football.
“The same management is important. And Mick Dempsey coming in is a football man as well as a hurling man. There is no discrimination there.
“It can be done with the cooperation of everyone. If you want to be an awkward son of a gun, you can be as awkward as you like. Does it interfere with the absolute perfection of coaching both games, it does, but the amazing part about it, you have happier players when they are allowed play the codes they want to play, particularly at club level.
“We all grew up watching the Jimmy Barry Murphys. From everyone’s perspective, the dual player should be facilitated. They shouldn't be torn between two lovers. They should be allowed express themselves in both codes."