Paudie Palmer: Coaches get all the praise when you win and can always move on if you don't...

Many wanted Tomás Ó Sé involved in the Cork set-up but his Offaly side are currently struggling
Paudie Palmer: Coaches get all the praise when you win and can always move on if you don't...

Former Cork senior coach Cian O'Neill is now with Galway. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

WITH the benefit of hindsight, the miracle that really made an impression was the stroke pulled when Our Lord was informed that a gathering he was attending needed to finish up so they could head off to the local chipper to get some food before closing time.

After all, there was only five loaves and two fish remaining in the local supermarket. He called for both to be brought to him and soon after all 5,000 present were full to the gills. I must admit, the conversion of the uisce into wine at the wedding feast of Cana also left an impression.

Growing up in turf land in South Kerry, hunger was never an issue, but food, as we know it to today, wasn’t on the shelves. I offer that as a possible explanation for being in awe of such happenings — and of not understanding how they happened.

I doubt either miracle would have the same impact today. Even if your residence is low in food supplies, two taps on a phone and a guy from somewhere south of Ahiohill can cycle up to the front door with a pizza.

Yes, maybe it is time to sit down with a counsellor but the reason that the column has been transported back to unexplained happenings probably has to do with my state of confusion regarding the role of the GAA coach.

Is Paul Kinnerk a miracle worker at Limerick?

For quite a while, a number of pundits bemoaned the fact that coaches, particularly up north, were ushering Gaelic football to the local cemetery.

Now Pat Spillane, the old neighbour from turf land, could hardly contain himself when he announced to the nation that Paddy Tally’s fingerprints were all over Kerry’s new defensive system.

Former Down manager Paddy Tally. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Former Down manager Paddy Tally. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

In case, you weren’t aware, Paddy is from the northern territories and spent a while on Mickey Harte’s coaching ticket.

He has also managed Down, as well as having a responsibility for the defensive systems employed by Galway a few years ago.

Next, Cian O’Neill. When Cork collapsed in the Kingdom during the 2021 championship, the telescopic sights did not only focus on Ronan McCarthy — the Kildare native was also very much in the picture. O’Neill left quietly and not long afterwards, he was on his way to Galway to prevent them from leaking scores.

Fast forward to last Sunday, when Galway added to the growing list of woes being experienced by Mayo folk.

The former neighbour was on again, this time to inform us that O’Neill’s coaching strategies were an integral part of the new maroon defensive formation.

Honestly, it would be easier to comprehend the happenings regarding the wine shortage at the wedding.


Not finished yet, when news broke last autumn that Tomás Ó Sé was heading up to the Shane Lowry-funded Offaly land, there were some who were critical of Cork’s failure to put Ó Sé on the Rebel backroom staff.

Some of those who remain convinced that it is possible to impoverish the nation’s turf accountants would have had Offaly as one of their dead certs in their clash with Wexford.

Until last Sunday evening, I was under the impression that Ben Brosnan was as former as you could get. However, 14 years after first coming to our attention, he dismantled not only Offaly but also no end of betting slips.

Armagh decided they weren’t going to be caught in the dark ages of coaching miracles and sent for the Star. Kieran Donaghy wasn’t able to prevent them from exiting another Ulster championship on day one.

Armagh selector Kieran Donaghy. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Armagh selector Kieran Donaghy. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, coaching of whatever variety also came into critical focus in the aftermath of the capitulation to Limerick.

A calling out of sorts was directed at Pat Mulcahy and Noel Furlong. Both were added to Kieran Kingston’s backroom staff late last year and both came with positive recommendations.

I just don’t know!

Prior to that Limerick game, I do remember mentioning that it was possible that this year’s All-Ireland championship could begin and end on Easter Sunday.

A Cork victory could have provided hope for all but instead it turned out to be a launch of Limerick’s three in a row.

At the moment it does appear that we are back to the best-of-the-rest championship and Cork’s defence of that will begin on Sunday at the temporary home venue in Thurles.

It goes without saying that it is a must-win for Kieran Kingston’s charges.

Clare demolished Tipperary last Sunday, despite the fact that just seven days earlier Tipp issued a false profit warning in their impressive display against Waterford.

God, how restarts have taken over the bluffers guide to understanding hurling — do you go short, go long, operate a full press, concede possession... the list just goes on.

That mentioned it’s imperative that, in the vast majority of occasions, the sliotar leaves Patrick Collins’ hurley on Sunday. It must find itself, regardless of route, in the possession of a shooter.


We must believe that Cork are a better team than Clare, even allowing for the fact that Peter Duggan and Shane O’Donnell are back in the Banner forward division.

I would think that a tad of soul searching applied after the Limerick capitulation should (and I think it will) lead to a much-needed Cork victory.

In the meantime, the column will have to accept its difficulties in understanding the coaching miracle conundrum.

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