Cool Cooper brushes off Brolly’s ‘choker’ criticism

Kerry captain Colm Cooper says he would have become a choker if he paid attention to analysts like Joe Brolly throughout his football career.

Last month, the RTÉ pundit denied he had called the Dr Crokes man a choker in a newspaper columnfollowing Cooper’s performance for his club against Crossmaglen in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Brolly had written: “An American tourist would never have believed it if you’d told him The Gooch was one of the greats.

“If however you’d told him he was a choker, he would have agreed, since that is what Colm did against Cross.”

Cooper shrugs off the criticism at the same time indicated hisdisappointment in the remarks made by Brolly. “Joe is entitled to his opinion, he’s an analyst and he’s been watching football for many years,” he told website. “Whether it’s dismissive or what — that’s up to other people’s perceptions.

“To be honest, it didn’t bother me in the slightest because if I had listened to analysts over the past few years I’d have gone from being the best footballer in the country to being a guy that hasn’t done it and has choked!

“So I’ve heard it all at this stage, I just get on with my football and if guys want to analyse they can analyse.”

In general, Cooper admits he’s concerned at the level of criticism that is directed by pundits at inter-county players.

“Is it right or wrong? I don’t know — my only worry is that these areamateur guys getting up and going to work in the morning. I don’t think they should be subjected to some of the criticism that goes on. I thinkanalysts are there and analysing is fine but going over the top isn’t on and people should find the right balance.”

The All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Donegal earlier this month denied Cooper another opportunity to capture a so-far elusive Footballer of the Year award. However, he insists it doesn’t bother him. “Because I haven’t won Footballer of the Year doesn’t make me feel any less appreciated... that’s not something I’ll stay awake at night worrying about when my career is over!”

Earlier this month, Cooper’s team-mate Darran O’Sullivan said he couldn’t see himself playing football for a county that played a less free-flowing style.

Cooper confesses he doesn’t find playing inter-county football as pleasurable as he used to. He pointstowards stricter defensive systems as the reason.

“I would say it makes it less enjoyable. It certainly makes it more challenging in terms of the way certain teams play because you could go out one Sunday and play lovely expansive football and you could come out the next week and it’s like playing on half a pitch it’s so tight and tenacious! But sure, that’s what you’re going to have when you’re competing for big success.

“At times it makes things challenging but sure, anything worth winning has to be tough.”

Donegal certainly made life difficult for Cooper and Kerry earlier this month but believes the injuries sustained by Eoin Brosnan and Bryan Sheehan had a major impact.

“I thought we were going in the right direction. Just a few things went wrong against Donegal and if thathappens in the big days in Croke Park you’ll get found out. Bryan Sheehan and Eoin Brosnan having to go off (were big blows). Those little things going wrong, they can have a bigimpact and we weren’t that far off Donegal.”


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