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 Finn Kerrisk, Bishopstown GAA club, in action against Aghada an U8 Monster Blitz last summer. Picture: Larry Cummins
Finn Kerrisk, Bishopstown GAA club, in action against Aghada an U8 Monster Blitz last summer. Picture: Larry Cummins
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The Paudie Palmer column: Young Rebels show their skills in the shutdown

IN light of a previous disclosure where I informed you I was on an tUasal Covid’s danger list and reside with two health care professionals, I have to change my signature tune.

So for this week, I’m borrowing from the GAA lexicon. Commentary from the Cocoon Corner Courtesy of Covid-19. Or the CCCCC.

You get the gist. Being under the house arrest regime makes you more aware of the serious challenge facing many in endeavouring to stay off Dr Tony Holohan’s, the chief medical officer’s evening updates.

At this stage, with the tidal water of grim news appearing to get higher with every returning wave, the task of staying with a sporting theme requires a series switching off from reality.

Croke Park is out of use from a GAA perspective for the time being. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Croke Park is out of use from a GAA perspective for the time being. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Whatever about the current crisis, regardless of when you do a column, there is always something happening that is far more important than the happenings in planet spórtúil.

Reading some of the sporting outputs for the past number of days it was primarily rear-mirror stuff.

John Horgan, one of the most genuine and honourable wordsmiths in this game kept many entertained by his various hurling team selections. Though I feel if this goes on indefinitely, anyone that ever swung a hurley will eventually get on one of his dream teams.

Various clubs came to our rescue by producing montages of photographs from what appears to be another era not to mention old newspaper reports of match reports. Then there were virtual sporting quizzes.

From these dark corners it’s a challenge in itself to see the tunnel, let alone, the light at the end of same. However there was never a winter that wasn’t followed by a spring and in time, this Covid shutdown will be followed by a release like no other.

Hopefully we’ll return a society less concerned with material things like the size of the car or house.

I made reference last week to the number of video clips that were available on many of the social media platforms showing young and not so young children practicing the various skills attached to both codes. One of those that, really struck a chord was the skill of the two-footed footballer.

I can remember watching an adult training session about 30 years ago, which nowadays would be described as a skill development session.

At one stag, the man in charge suggested the players would kick off their weaker foot for a few minutes. If a group of tone-deaf individuals were presented with violins for the first time and were requested to play one Beethoven’s creations, their efforts would have a lot more grace than what was on view!

The situation got even more comical when he called a halt to that futile exercise and requested, that they now embark a drill of soloing with the weaker foot.

Being honest, Darwin’s theory of evolution took a serious hammering. Eventually, I would think both in the interests of avoiding embarrassment and injury, a halt was called.

Of course skills coaching has changed enormously but I would still proffer the notion, that since Covid came a calling, the sporting skills set of the nation’s children has moved up a few notches. Not alone the sporting skills but the many other skills that the children of this island have in abundance.

Dublin's Ciaran Kilkenny, a serious operator off both feet, with Michael McKernan of Tyrone. Picture: INPHO/Tommy Dickson
Dublin's Ciaran Kilkenny, a serious operator off both feet, with Michael McKernan of Tyrone. Picture: INPHO/Tommy Dickson

I think that one could make a very strong case the youth living through this experience will be a lot better prepared for the challenges of life than some of the past generations. Formal education is of major importance but this the informal brand (and I am not talking about distance learning) is invaluable.

Much positivity has flown the way of the GAA for the way it has stepped up to the plate. The decision to offer Croke Park, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, and a number of other stadia around the country as testing centres were the headline grabbers.

I wonder did any of those who described Páirc Uí Chaoimh as a great white elephant on numerous occasions, ever think that, they would see the day when it would play a role in saving Irish people’s lives.

If this was a political column, I’d be tempted to ask, what triggered the recent general election? Was it not a West Cork TD put down a vote of no-confidence in a guy called Simon Harris? Yes, dear friends, all has changed and all of that.

To revert back to the contribution of the GAA, I am not sure whether or not Simon Coveney ever played much hurling or indeed football with Tracton. However, the partnership he announced between the GAA, Centra and SuperValu whereby the provision of groceries and medical supplies would be delivered to the homes of the nation’s vulnerable population by club members showed the strong connection between sport and community.

By the way, normally when an awareness campaign of this sort involving the GAA is produced, the presence of a hurley is nearly always a must, it was nice on this occasion that it was a Gaelic football that featured.

I should also add, that I was somewhat impressed with the ball-handling skills of the Tracton native. Prior to checking at the front door to see if the food man has delivered, I must mention it appears that the wearing of this special green jersey is now being done with a serious level of pride, helped in no small way by the confidence of the nation’s citizens in those who are wearing the bainisteoirí bibs.

Until next time, take care.