The ‘hard man’ culture in Gaelic games

Sir, – Brian O'Connor's "Something dubious about the hard man idea within Gaelic games" (Tipping Point, September 18th) is timely. It capitalises on what, with your help, Jackie Tyrrell has revealed about the ugliness that fuelled Kilkenny's hurling in recent years.

Brian O’Connor writes: “We need to shout ‘whoa’. But before we stop tolerating this stuff we need to stop glorifying it. There’s no courage in sly abuse. Hopefully, someday, a genuinely brave man will summon the balls to step off the field and simply say this is bollocks.” I agree.

That said, I don’t think it’s fair to expect active – or even retired – hurlers or footballers to be “whistleblowers” to set the ball rolling. Besides saying “he got away with it” as they routinely do, media commentators could relentlessly call a spade a spade when they see sly, ugly cheating.

I might add that the weekly newspaper published in Thurles, the birthplace of the GAA, has been forthright in that respect. Pieces I had published in it three years ago referred to the “ferocious, savage, obstruction” tactics that Kilkenny used in 2014 to win. – Yours, etc,



Ranelagh, Dublin 6.