The Paudie Palmer column: Elite GAA players have to deal with far too much abuse online from keyboard warriors

The Paudie Palmer column: Elite GAA players have to deal with far too much abuse online from keyboard warriors
Aaron Craig, 5, Eoin Price, 9, and Cormac Boyle of Westmeath in action against Damien Cahalane, 7, and Aidan Walsh of Cork. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

IN THE aftermath of the tragic and untimely death of British presenter, Caroline Flack, many on social media were tripping over one another to hang their hat on supposedly inspirational quotes, in this case it was: “in a world where you be anything, be kind”.

Firstly, a wee confession, until the world was flooded by the news of this young lady’s tragic death, I wasn’t aware of her existence. That fact alone may inform you of my narrow spectrum.

Anyway, it appears that negative commentary on all social media platforms, together with some unsavoury tabloid outpourings, contributed to circumstances which led to the presenter’s death.

The late Caroline Flack. Picture: Matt Crossick/PA Wire
The late Caroline Flack. Picture: Matt Crossick/PA Wire

Back to the quote. The latter part, 'be kind', now attaches to the profile of many social media participants.

Notwithstanding the devastating sadness that now surrounds the death one of Britain’s brightest presenters, the whole 'be kind' scenario got me thinking about the level of online abuse that will be hurled in the direction of some inter-county players over the next few months.

Yes, a lot of these keyboard 'heroes' operate in low pasture sites, but nonetheless their comments can be most hurtful.

A few years ago, Eamon Fitzmaurice when departing from the lofty position of bainisteóir of Ciarraí mentioned the grief that was visited upon some players.

I am beginning to think now, that another task that should apply to inter-county management, is the education of players on how to deal with this sort of unwelcome attention.

Quite honestly, there are a number of our population who do have difficulty with the concept of being kind!

What else came to our attention since the last column?

How about the admission by some that cynicism is now an integral part of the noble game of hurling?

Even though, that a number of matches had to bend the knee to Storm Dennis over the weekend, the few that did take place brought further examples of this type of carry on, that some folk would like us to believe only existed in the game of the big ball.

In the Dublin-Carlow game, Chris Crummey, one of the Dublin players, was the victim of a cynical act by a Carlow player, while Podge Collins was denied a certain goal, when he was hauled down in Clare’s match against Laois.

Considering that it took a considerable amount of time for those who believe in hurling purity to arrive at a viewpoint, that dark forces have permeated their sport, the next big decision revolves around the solution.

There are many, who believe that the introduction of the black card and sin bin, already operating, in Gaelic football land is not the answer.

These people may have a valid point, but now there is fairly widespread acceptance of the existence of the problem, some measure will have to be put in place, which hopefully will act as a deterrent, for those buachaillí dána. We await developments.

Ryan Taylor of Clare is tackled by Diarmuid Conway of Laois. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Ryan Taylor of Clare is tackled by Diarmuid Conway of Laois. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Some of you may consider it a tad rich that somebody reared in the hurling free area of south Kerry, should comment on one of the skills that attach to that game.

For quite a while the hand-pass was considered to be a real issue in Gaelic football. I wonder now, does a similar scenario apply to hurling?

If I am offside on this one, the apology is already being crafted.

Watching a number of games in recent times, it appears to this, albeit untrained eye, that an increasing number of hand passes are just blatant throwing of the sliotar.

It is quite amazing that hurling has now succumbed to the possession strategy and the days of long deliveries out of defence, like Diarmuid O'Sullivan in his pomp, are in serious decline.

Nowadays, in the majority of cases, when a defender wins possession, he will make a run before a short hand-pass/throw to a colleague. I think the experts call it, working it through the lines.

When a player collects anywhere, outside his own 65 metre line, there is now an expectation that he should be capable of raising a white flag.

A by-product of this activity is a reduction in the number of goals scored and might I add, that I have encountered a few, who believe that this has reduced the game, as a spectacle.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned there were moves afoot to reduce the number of All-Ireland Post Primary School competitions, well now this situation has taken a step closer to reality.

If Motion 41 is passed at this year’s Congress, the only provincial competitions that will go to All-Ireland level, will be the A and B ones. This is elitism at its worst.

It makes absolutely no sense to prevent the schools who play in the C, D and E competitions, from having a chance of winning an All-Ireland.

If this motion came into operation five years ago, the following Cork schools, and their communities, would have been denied the opportunity of all the huge benefits, that attached to winning a national title — Coláiste Ghobnatan, Ballyvourney; Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Blarney; Mitchelstown CBS and last year, the Patrician Academy, Mallow. The likes of Mark Coleman and Conor Corbett featured.

Patrician Academy, Mallow's Eanna O'Hanlon winning a high ball from Eoin Ó Mathúna of Coláiste an Phiarsaigh. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Patrician Academy, Mallow's Eanna O'Hanlon winning a high ball from Eoin Ó Mathúna of Coláiste an Phiarsaigh. Picture: Denis Minihane.

By the way, I am not against this motion because of what would be denied to Cork schools, but because it will affect similar sized educational establishments all over the country.

Teachers and others, who operate in schools, have long since been removed from such decision-making.

In my limited experience of Congress, this motion will slip through without even a comment. If that be the case, it will be nothing short of a disgrace.

Let the battle to defeat it begin in the Rebel land.

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