Davy Glennon: Kerry hurling is doing nothing wrong with imported players

Davy Glennon won an All-Ireland SHC medal with Galway but would later switch his allegiances to Westmeath, his mother's home county.
Davy Glennon: Kerry hurling is doing nothing wrong with imported players

Davy Glennon of Westmeath after the Joe McDonagh Cup final win over Kerry last year. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

In time, just as the changes to the penalty and 20-metre free in hurling became known as the Anthony Nash rule, the eligibility exemption might be known as the Davy Glennon derogation.

Not that the man himself sees what the fuss is all about but it was partly on the basis of his switch from Galway to Westmeath, his mother Eileen’s home county, in 2020 while continuing to line out for his home club Mullagh that Kerry argued they too should be able to recruit players with parental links to the Kingdom.

The presence of three former Limerick under-age players in Stephen Molumphy’s panel, two in his starting line-up, in their famous win over Tipperary last weekend brought further attention to the matter.

Having said that, the exception made for Kerry has been on the minds of Antrim, Down and Offaly for several weeks and they intend to voice their concerns at Central Council on Saturday week.

Whatever the backstory, Glennon supports the presence of Paudie Ahern, Louis Dee and Niall Mulcahy in the Kerry panel.

Paudie Ahern of Kerry. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Paudie Ahern of Kerry. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

“If they are deemed eligible to play, are good enough to play and Kerry as a group and as a county are willing to back them then why not? It’s three more players who hadn’t played senior inter-county before.

“How many players in Galway, Limerick and Tipperary get to play inter-county? It’s a select group. These lads might never get into the Limerick panel and they’re doing nothing wrong at the end of the day.

“It’s a game of hurling, it’s the GAA, it’s amateur - they’re not doing this for any monetary reason. There is a connection for them with Kerry. I think it’s a great thing for Kerry and it will bring the standard of Kerry right up.”

Glennon made the first moves about his switch to Westmeath. Left out in the cold by Shane O’Neill in Galway, he contacted Noel Larkin, the Westmeath selector who was an All-Ireland SHC winning selector alongside Micheál Donoghue in 2017.

“I was 28. Was I going to finish when I felt I had something left to offer? Shane O’Neill had just come into Galway and was going to get one if not two years. When I finally got to meet Shane O’Neill, he said my career wasn’t over but then he didn’t exactly say I had a chance, that they would be looking at lads in the club championship.

“This was 2020 when the club came before inter-county and I did have a good campaign but still there was no call so I was left with a big decision. I asked some of my hurling friends what they would think about me going to Westmeath. They backed me.”

Westmeath missed the deadline for Glennon to line out in 2020 but he played a leading role in their McDonagh Cup success last year, scoring five points in the final against Kerry and claiming a spot on the McDonagh team of the year.

At the outset, he was worried whether he would be accepted but those concerns soon disappeared. “It was tough going initially because you were saying to yourself, ‘What are lads thinking of me?’ You just have to get stuck in and if I was willing to put in the effort then there wouldn’t be any problems.

“The travelling was hard but from day one I got a warm reception, I couldn’t ask for enough. When the dressing rooms were out of bounds, there were lads asking me if I wanted to use the showers in their houses.

“I suppose they looked at it and they did say to me that if I could bring a bit of experience from my time with Galway it would be a massive help to them getting over the line. I went to Westmeath to try and win trophies — I didn’t go up to get gear.

“I told them at the outset that I wasn’t there to be just an inter-county hurler. With my gambling addiction, hurling has helped to keep me busy and fit. I did feel the pressure to perform after leaving Galway but Westmeath has been great to me. We’re in the Liam MacCarthy Cup this year and I still believe I have something to give.”

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