Let’s hear it for football’s ‘little’ guys




Let’s face it; the ‘little’ guys in Gaelic football are increasingly overlooked – no pun intended. This week I’m not talking about those Division 3 and 4 footballers who toiled all winter only to be told their games are null and void in the spring. I’m talking about ‘terrier-like’ corner backs and ‘tricky’ corner forwards and any other euphemism for players in the 5’6” to 5’10” bracket.

  Last Sunday at Hyde Park there was no need for Willie because I was fortunate enough to have two very entertaining commentators sitting right behind me. It was a terrific insight into the passion of Roscommon GAA supporters but it was also an eye-opener in terms of the amount of pressure on inter-county footballers each match day.

  I won’t divulge identities at this or any other point but let’s just say the commentary increased in intensity whenever the outstanding Ciarán Lennon and Ultan Harney were in the same vicinity as the football.

  Most of their comments were right on the money and despite Ultan’s late dismissal they went away very happy. However, one observation in the second half did rankle me slightly I must say.

  Commentator 1: ‘Niall Kilroy is great in that sweeper role.

  Commentator 2: ‘He is. He’s a very good player, it’s just a shame about his size’.

  ‘A shame about his size’.

  As a non-6 footer myself, that stung. However, it didn’t seem to bother Niall Kilroy too much as broke up play and distributed the ball calmly all over Dr Hyde Park. Those Cork boys must have been checking behind the door in the dressing room for Niall at full-time. He was everywhere and once again my man of the match.

  That being said, I was tempted to stand up for him and the other ‘lower centre of gravity’ players on the panel who have been the stand-out performers this season. Alas, at 5’7” (and a half) and one step lower in the stand, I was afraid of being overlooked myself!