Sunday 17 December 2017

O'Farrell: 'I think people are being a bit too negative with Gaelic football'

Aogan O'Farrell
Aogan O'Farrell
Joe Kernan with Aogan O'Farrell

IT'S symptomatic of the prevailing mood around Gaelic football at the moment that there was only really one topic anyone wanted or expected to discuss in Croke Park yesterday upon Joe Kernan's unvieling as Ireland's International Rules manager for 2015.

And it wasn't the forthcoming one-test Series in Croke Park this November 21.

GAA president Aogán O'Farrell - who appointed Kernan - was there and spoke like someone just embarking on a three-year stint in his exalted role and thus, perhaps, mindful of stepping too heavily into a minefield.

"Of course you'd be concerned if people criticise the game," he said, just hours after Chairman of the GAA's standing rules committee, Jarlath Burns, went on Morning Ireland to back up his Twitter assertion on Saturday night that Dublin's League match with Derry represented "The death of Gaelic football".


"I think it's over the top," O'Farrell asserted.

"I think people are a bit too negative with Gaelic football. I think there have been bad games, I was away at the weekend, I didn't see any. I heard there were some low scoring games, I also heard there were some very exciting high scoring games.

"That always happens. Next weekend is usually a defining weekend, coming to the end of the Allianz Leagues I'd say we'll have a good opportunity to see where teams are setting up at that stage and where they're at."

The Cavan official added, however, that he had "a very open mind on everything," with regard to the rules committee's terms of reference and potential future recommendations.

"People still do kick the ball," said Kernan, who pledged that his team would play a simple game on November 21 in Croke Park, employing the principles of movement and accurate kicking.

"If you look at every team there are players in every team who kick the ball but if you don't practice it regularly at training.

"I don't know what way some of the boys are training now - but you have got to kick the ball every night you go training, it's as important as running.

"If you can't kick it and have the assurance that when I kick it I know where my man is going to be. If we got into a head-to-head where we are trying to out-catch these boys we are in trouble, we have to play to our strengths.


"Our strengths should be kicking the ball and our handling, then our tackling and playing the game with intensity and speed.

"We are going to play the game to suit us, not to suit them. We will look at all their strengths but we will certainly work on our strengths," added Kernan.

The Armagh man will have Kerry's Darragh Ó Sé, Galway's Pádraic Joyce and Roscommon's Dermot Earley in his backroom team and clarified that he was in favour of a one-match series.

"To me as a manager, you have one chance to get this right," he added.

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