Superstar minding his own business attacked by Brolly…


All week, it seems everyone’s been singing the praises of a light lad from Killarney who became a footballing prince.

  But in today’s Sindo, Joe Brolly hands out the plaudits in one hand while wielding the knife in the other.

  If they want to be hailed by smug critics, sometimes the last thing sportstars should do is set the highest of standards.

  When Ronaldo was knocking in wonder goals for Manchester United, while also having the temerity to be far too good looking, Eamon Dunphy and John Giles criticised him for not ‘tracking back’ enough!

  It might surely have been more appropriate if they had fully acknowledged the magic he was weaving at the other end of the field. Ronaldo was busy doing what the guys who were tracking back could only dream of doing!

  In a somewhat mean-spirited reflection on Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper’s career today, Joe Brolly uses a dubious form of logic.

  The facts are that between 2004 and 2009 ‘Gooch’ won four All-Irelands with Kerry, and scored a fabulous total of 3-18 in those four finals. Yet Brolly actually zooms in on these finals as he sets about taking Cooper down a peg or two. Brolly praises Gooch and says the Kerry man is the most skilful player he’s ever seen, but there’s a few strong verbal digs too. Brolly basically alleges that Cooper didn’t do the business against the very elite teams, was guilty of disappearing from games, was often “anonymous” and just wasn’t there when the going got tough. It’s a harsh critique and leaves a sour taste.

  Along the way, there’s enough sideswipes at Cork and Mayo to enrage supporters in those counties, with Brolly writing that Gooch only did the business in All-Ireland finals against “star-struck Mayo and Cork teams.”

  Brolly says that when Gooch was in his prime in those four finals, he was playing against a “terrified” Mayo and against Cork, “Mayo’s Munster cousins.”

  Brolly’s conclusion is that Cooper wasn’t a leader in the mould of Peter Canavan (who incidentally won just two All-Irelands).

  It’s all a matter of opinion of course, and no doubt some people will agree with Brolly’s unsentimental deconstruction of the career and legacy of the Gooch.

  But hey, maybe last week really should have finished as it began, with due tribute being paid to a wonderful footballing artist.

  So, yellow card to Joe Brolly and a medal for sportsmanship to Fr. Liam Devine, who more accurately captured the mood of the nation when, in his Roscommon Herald column, he wrote: “I finally met Gooch before the All-Ireland final in Croke Park a few years ago…I thanked him for the great moments of brilliance that he entertained us with down through the years. I think he appreciated it. I doubt if we will ever see his equal again on a football field.”


At a press briefing on the status of the Join Our Boys campaign, Aidan Farrell reminds us of what it’s all about: trying to help to find a cure for DMD.

  Brothers Archie, George and Isaac Naughton, who live in Roscommon town, have all been diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a life-threatening condition.

  The briefing is being held to update the public on the great fundraising drive and on plans to build a purpose-built home/clinic for the boys.

  As the brothers play happily in a section of the conference room in Gleeson’s, trustee Aidan Farrell briefly switches the focus back to the boys’ health. There is always hope, he says, adding that great research is being done into DMD, and that nobody is giving up on hopes of finding a cure.

  Amongst those at the top table are the boys’ parents, Padraic and Paula, and one is again struck by this great couple’s courage, strength and determination. 

  This family, which carries such a cross with such dignity, deserves our ongoing support. The next big project is ‘Miles for Our Boys’, with the public invited to participate in the Dublin City Marathon in support of Join Our Boys (Archie will be taking part). Details on Join Our Boys website and Facebook pages. Get involved if you can!

Later on Sunday

We’re in the Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon for a family gathering. It’s my first time here in a good few years and I won’t beat about the Bush; it’s a lovely, charming, old-style premises.

  While other hotels have been modernised (and good luck to them), the beautiful, quaint Bush Hotel is relying on its old-world charm.

  The staff were friendly, the food was good, the Dublin/Kerry game was on three large screens, but most of all, the unique décor and underlying sense of history makes it a great and quite fascinating hotel to spend time in.

Even later on Sunday

In the Central in Roscommon, a few of us are hogging two sides of the counter in the front bar, creating our own Amen Corner, praying for Sergio.

  By 11 pm, most eyes in the bar are on the television screen; by 11.30, all eyes have joined in.

  When Sergio sinks the winning putt, to finally claim a major, it’s as if Jimmy White actually potted a world title-winning black ball. Of course it’s even bigger than that!

  It’s the great majors’ underachiever, the nearly man – some might even say the choker – finally claiming his destiny. At the age of  37, after more than seventy attempts over two long decades, Sergio is finally a major winner. It’s an immensely popular win, hailed by fans all over the world, because just about everyone was willing Sergio to finally and officially join the greats.

  And what a sporting and dignified guy Justin Rose is. He was magnificent in defeat, and hopefully his Masters’ day will come. 

  No doubt the late Seve Ballesteros, who would have been 60 on Sunday, was smiling down at the courageous new King of Augusta.


Can somebody haul Barry Cowen, Fianna Fáil’s self-styled boot boy, off that Dáil plinth?

  His arrogant showboating is getting ridiculous. Today, after the latest twist in the pathetic water charges saga (shame on the lot of them), it was no surprise to see Cowen quickly out to meet the media, flexing his muscles like an Offaly version of a poor man’s Putin.

  Desperate to claim a win for his party/himself, Cowen smugly invited anyone who gets a water bill in the future to give him a call.

  Tough guy Barry will sort it out, that was the message. 

  Next week, he’s off to single-handedly fight wild animals in the jungle by day, while sorting out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the evenings.

  Take that, Simon Coveney!


An old man is walking in the wrong direction in the middle of a roundabout in Roscommon town. Held up and showing varying signs of amusement/frustrastion are two cars, a jeep, a lorry and a guy on a bike. The old man is in no hurry. In fact he’s quite leisurely about it all. It’s man versus car, and there’s only one winner. It’s as if Henry Ford had never bothered. Trump bombed Syria and there’s a Brexit-shaped crisis on top of us but at this moment in time this old man has slowed the world down – well at least he’s stopped us all in our tracks in Roscommon. Everyone – lorry, cars, cyclist – waits for his next move. He completes his journey. The world moves on again.

  Fair play to him (not that I’m recommending it of course).  Everyone needs a breather and to take stock, every now and again.