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Last week in Netwatch Dr Cullen Park Carlow and Antrim served up a real hurling thriller in the Christy Ring cup with the Saffrons prevailing by the minimum thanks to a late goal by talisman Neil McManus and a point by Loughgiel tyro James McNaughten. It was typical of the fare often on offer in the Ring, Meagher and Rackard Cups.
Intense tough hurling, perhaps lacking the polish and intensity of the Liam McCarthy grade, but none of the passion and commitment. A quick survey nationwide would probably elicit the response that many GAA fans only pay scant attention to these games, more’s the pity.
The tie was an early bit of hurling and muscle flexing between two counties that most commentators wager will contest
Colm Cooper has been around so long, the world of the GAA will seem strange without him. A willow the wisp genius scampering across the field. He doesn’t seem to have grown old, nor has age wearied him. Anyone who has seen him play will never forget him. He doesn’t seem to have visibly aged from the cartoon like figure that appeared on the scene in 2002 with a haul of 1-2 in a Div 2 league final. Even now there is a youthfulness about Colm Cooper, and an impishness about the way he plays gaelic football.
He doesn’t so much kick goals and points as steer the ball into the net. A brilliant finisher, his movement on and off the ball a thing to behold. But as we know the Gooch was more than a finisher. He was an iconic presence in the Kerry and Dr Crokes 13 jersey, strangely when he wore 11 it just didn’t look right. But he had the passing repertoire of a real playmaker.
A few of us stood on a terrace in Healy Park a number of years back to watch Tyrone