On March 6, 2019, the first edition of Corry’s Corner was published on Pundit Arena, now, after one year and 52 editions later, the time feels right to bring our weekly column to its natural ending.
There are some valuable learnings to take from writing a column. The first one being that it is hard, it is a slog.
For someone who wouldn’t describe themselves as opinionated, forming an opinion piece on a weekly basis has, at times, has driven this writer to near insanity.
The number one lesson taken from this column, however, is that we know more than we thought yet half as much as we should. It has encouraged more reading, research, time and effort and most of all care in the work we put out there every week for you the reader.
You may not always agree with the opinions expressed in this column and that’s fine. Unfortunately, modern society seems to have created a world where disagreement is viewed as a negative when in fact it should be a positive as disagreements when channelled correctly, leads to debate and debate leads to learning.
If only it were as simple as that though.
Anyway, in light of this and it being the final ever edition let’s cast our minds back through five of the best and five of the worst takes from Corry’s Corner.
Five we take back
A simple one to discredit really.
Written a matter of days after Dublin secured a historic fifth All-Ireland title in a row, rumours began to circulate as to where Jim Gavin’s future lay. The Clondalkin man’s post-match presser following the win did in many ways feel like a finality of sorts with his father, Jimmy, sat at the back of the room.
The most memorable line from this ‘hot-take’ reads: “Don’t be surprised though if the Jim Gavin dynasty has only just begun.” Just a tad embarrassing to look back on. Being just one All-Ireland win away from equalling Mick O’Dwyer’s, the thought at the time was that Gavin had a few more records insight.
Turns out we were wrong as Dessie Farrell is now at the wheel.
A harsh take by all accounts but at the time the sentiment rang true. After defeating both Mayo and Galway en route to a Connacht title, Roscommon went into last season’s Super 8s campaign looking to put up a better showing than they did 12 months prior when they suffered two demoralising hammerings from Dublin and Tyrone.
Unfortunately, for the Rossies, they came up against the same two teams in 2019 and while the result wasn’t as bad as the year previous, they still looked a long way off breaking into Gaelic football’s top four.
An All-Ireland semi-final for Roscommon would be a huge, huge achievement and while it is not out of the realm of possibility that they could get there, in hindsight, it feels wrong to say that anything other than this should be deemed a successful season.
Take a hike!
This piece was written following Dublin’s win over Kildare in last year’s Leinster SFC semi-final. The reasoning behind the argument lay in the fact that despite losing by 15 points, Kildare could hold their heads high.
At the same time, we were fresh of seeing Mayo toppled in Connacht and Tyrone beat in Ulster while in this writer’s opinion, Kerry’s performances made them look “well short” of matching Dublin blow for blow.
Therein lies the reason for this poorly judged opinion piece as we saw come All-Ireland final day just what this Kerry side brings to the table. They’ll beat Dublin on the biggest of days soon.
There was also a prediction on one Dublin forward that in hindsight is quite frankly ridiculous.
Before we start, there’s no bigger Michael Murphy fan in Ireland. He is the best footballer in the country and has been for the better part of a decade. This column was simply a call for Declan Bonner to put the Glenswilly wrecking machine at the edge of the square, where many feel he is best suited.
However, Murphy has shown time and time again that he is equally as effective and destructive playing further out the field. Everything Donegal do goes through him and on their day they could beat anybody.
His performance against Kerry in last season’s Super 8s was worth a season ticket’s fee to Croke Park.
Poorly timed to say the least. Written just a matter of weeks ago as news filtered through the country that Conor McKenna looked set to return to Ireland and pick up his Gaelic football career with Tyrone.
Acting on solid information, the belief was that McKenna was coming home for good, however, it has since emerged that he is set to return to Australia.
The other premise for the article was that Cathal McShane’s decision to stay, alongside McKenna, would provide Tyrone with a new lease of life and make them a feared county once again.
A la, we were well wrong here.
Five we stand over
I still stand over this one.
Whether you agree with the Sky Sports deal or not is irrelevant here because what’s done is done and all that.
However, since the inception of Sky Sports GAA, the broadcasting giant has missed a trick due to a lack of live coverage for London’s championship opener in Ruislip.
The Sky Sports deal has been brilliant for the Irish abroad, of course, but when it was first announced, then Director-General, Páraic Duffy claimed that increasing British viewership played a large part in getting the deal over the line.
What better way to increase British viewership by giving the British fans a team to shout for. Sky Sports studios is also a quick 30-minute drive from Ruislip, go figure.
Will never truly understand the opposition to this one.
Recent seasons have seen more and more GAA games decided via the classic penalty shootout. It’s caused great divide throughout the country with many feeling it is a horribly unfair way for a team to lose a big championship game. How different is it, though, to conceded a 21-yard free with time up and losing it that way?
Penalty shootouts are exciting, fans love them, players [while nervous] also love them, goalkeepers get the chance to become heroes. The argument that it is cruel and unfair will never wash because there are so many cruel and unfair ways to win a game.
It’s tough to take but it’s the way forward and it also helps with the ever-growing problem of fixture congestion.
What was once a position filled by the weakest player has now become the fulcrum to the way teams play Gaelic football and hurling. Over the past number of years, we’ve seen a stark rise in the number of sweeper-keepers and fly-keepers with the likes of Niall Morgan, Rory Beggan and Graham Brody taking the position to new heights.
Written following Laois’ Allianz League final defeat last year, where a mistake from Brody ended up costing the O’Moore County, the argument centred on how Brody, and indeed other goalkeepers should never let this deter them from taking risks and acting as an extra outfield player.
It’s exciting to watch and very effective. Goalkeepers have become quarterbacks, not only in how they distribute the ball but how they dictate the play. With high risk comes high reward but there’s also that chance of making a massive error. Don’t let this deter you goalkeepers.
Written amid the debate surrounding the introduction of a black card into hurling.
Invented to tackle cynical play, here’s how you should tackle it:
If a player is adjudged to have committed one of these ‘professional fouls’ anywhere on the pitch, let’s award the opposition with a 14-yard free. Hit the offender where it hurts the most – the scoreboard.
If an offence is committed inside the scoring zone [inside 45-metres] let’s add a yellow card to the punishment alongside said 14-yard free. The closer we get to the goal, the harsher the punishment gets.
If a cynical foul occurs inside the 14-yard line, a penalty kick should be awarded.
If a player has the goal at his mercy and is taken out by a cynical foul, award the penalty and send off the offending player for a ‘last-man tackle’.
A two-pronged column written in the aftermath of Ireland’s defeat to Japan at the Rugby World Cup and some of the sentiment continues to ring true. The media still flip-flop on the Irish rugby team more than Shane Ross on the FAI.
Last week’s result at Twickenham proves this. Andy Farrell’s third game in charge, his first loss and it’s being treated like a death in the family.
At the same time, the begrudgery that Irish rugby meets head-on comes from a position of misunderstanding what rugby means to people from all backgrounds in this country.
Rugby exists far beyond the confines of Dublin 4 and that should be recognised. Go to Barnhall, Mullingar, Navan, Athy and Arklow and tell all those good genuine rugby people that they and their sport is a reflection of Ireland’s elite.