Saturday 22 October 2016

Mick's words cause chorus of Tweeting!

THERE was a charming piece on the radio during half-time of the Dublin-Westmeath Leinster final on Sunday.

RTE's Darren Frehill went to Valentia to meet the maestro himself, Mick O'Connell.

It must have been a lovely summer's day. You could hear the tweets in the background -

from the birds!

Mick himself wasn't singing when it came to the modern game.

He has SKY Sport. He follows most sports.

But the game dearest to his heart doesn't top his tam-ratings.

"I don't call it Gaelic football. I just call it Gaelic," revealed Mick.

And that's because he's not a fan of the hand pass.

"I was watching a match recently. It took 13 hand-passes before the ball was kicked.

"The game today does not please me. I don't enjoy it.

"That's not a reflection on the players, who show such great commitment."

He's been following the sport since the 40's.

In Mick's eyes, blankets are for covering the bed, or going for a picnic by the sea.

Mick knows all about the sea. He used to row to the main land to get a lift to Kerry training and matches.

He grew up enhancing his skills on the island. Perfecting his art off the gable end of houses.

"We went kicking all the time. That's what we did. And I think all that practice stood to us.

"Medals never interested me. I played because I enjoyed it.

"Skill should always come first. A player should be able to kick off both feet.

"Sure, even the kick off the ground is gone now.

"You have players who are very fit. You could say that Sonia O'Sullivan is a great athlete, but does that make her a great footballer."

Mick was perhaps the most graceful of them all.

He played in an era when high fielding was such a delight.

He'd love to see a return to such pure footballing days. The days of the catch and kick.

He has sympathy for the referees. "They are martyrs to the cause. The referees are loaded with a packet of cards."

It was a revealing Sunday Sport interview. Darren's intelligent questions hit the spot.

And no wonder there was so much tweeting going on!

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