If Dublin win six?
Sir, – Congratulations to Dublin on achieving a record-breaking fifth All-Ireland in a row. They are an outstanding team with a first-class management and coaching team. Peter Canavan and Kevin McStay (“If Dublin win six will the GAA see it as a problem?”, Sports Opinion, September 17th) are right on the money in describing them as a professional team playing an amateur game.
Clearly there is much about Dublin’s circumstances that brings to mind top professional soccer or rugby teams. An abundance of talent, astute management, superb fitness and conditioning, greater financial resources than their opponents, and players residing in close proximity to their training facilities. Munster Rugby abandoned their Cork-Limerick “bi-location” to reduce the toll of travel on players and boost team cohesiveness.
As with the top soccer teams, Dublin are based in a relatively compact, prosperous city capable of providing generous sponsorship when needed.
However, Dublin have an additional advantage, unavailable to the top soccer and rugby teams, in being able to play most of their key matches in what is now recognised as their home ground, before an attendance dominated by home supporters who don’t have to pay a hefty price for travel and accommodation.
Not having to travel a long distance to Croke Park confers on Dublin players the psychological and physical advantage of remaining in familiar surroundings before most big matches. When there is a replay, the above advantages accrue once again to the home team.
The Mayo-Kerry semi-final replay went to Limerick, a similar arrangement should be made for a replayed final featuring Dublin. Indeed, why not extra-time? Why the complete disregard for the financial toll on supporters of “down the country” teams such as Kerry, Mayo and Donegal?
Croke Park’s finances have benefited greatly from Dublin’s unprecedented success, as have the hard-pressed media outlets.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the above factors have not been examined closely until Kevin McStay’s excellent article. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Now that the Dublin ladies and Dublin men have won three and five All-Ireland titles in a row respectively (with no end in sight to their winning streaks), perhaps it’s time the GAA considered matching them against each other to play for the Sam Maguire and Brendan Martin Cups.
The rest of the 31 counties could then play against each other in a different competition that would be more balanced as regards resources. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I cannot find suitable superlatives that fittingly express my profound gratitude to the GAA.
The joy, excitement, entertainment that their thousands of amateur players provide Irish people at home and abroad with year after year is simply wonderful.
May it continue to do so. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I spoke to my eight-year-old granddaughter on the phone after Sunday’s Dublin win. Because one of the Dublin players has a connection with her school, I said: “It’s great. The Sam Maguire cup will be coming to your school!”
She replied innocently: “But Grandad, the cup comes every year to the school!” – Yours, etc,